NEW DELHI: Despite the so-called close ties between Moscow and Beijing, China has stopped short of overtly supporting Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as has been evident from the proceedings at the United Nations. Beijing has modulated its approach as it closely watches the world reaction to Ukraine, says noted China watcher Jayadeva Ranade. Speaking to StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, Ranade said he believes Putin, during his visit to Beijing early last month, gave Xi Jinping some idea of what he was planning ahead. Tune in for more.
As far as China is concerned, I think they’re looking at it as an opportunity. At the same time, they’re very intently watching the U.S. and the West. If they come out with harsher measures against Russia, if they start widening the scope of the financial sanctions, then China will be very badly hit. They are very conscious of that and I think they are now trying to distance themselves from outright support of Russia. I think when Putin came here (Beijing); now my own sense is that he certainly briefed Xi Jinping on what is going to happen, may not be the full detail but he gave him a fair insight into what he’s going to do and the indicators of that are the manner in which he withdrew the forces from the borders with China for deployment elsewhere. And the fact that Xi Jinping had a Politburo meeting immediately after that. Of course, it appears that Xi Jinping didn’t share that briefing with his own colleagues but maybe people got an indication and that was discussed in the Politburo after which there was a bit of modulation.