China's assertion of neutrality in the Ukraine War is weakened by Moscow's visit

Putin and wang Y

Vladimir Putin enjoys dining at very long tables. Famous pictures of his meetings show the Russian president at one end and the other person so far away that you wonder if they can hear each other.

When he met Wang Yi, China's top diplomat, things were different.

They were there, seated close enough to shake hands, with an oval-shaped table in the center.

The effect would have been the same even if the Chinese delegation had been seated at the long ends of a previously used table rather than directly across the center.

When the video was made public, it seemed to be an intentional symbolic act to demonstrate that he felt secure enough to be that close to the representative of such a significant friend.

Naturally, it hasn't always been like that. Beijing's system of underground fallout shelters was built to shield its populace from a nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union decades ago.

However, the government of Xi Jinping now regards Russia as a primary foe of US influence. a country that, like North Korea, may be viewed as an international pariah but serves a valuable geopolitical function.

When President Putin returned from the Winter Olympics in Beijing, having declared a new "no limits" relationship with China and, within weeks, beginning the invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese government didn't even seem that embarrassed.

Many have questioned whether Mr. Xi was informed of the impending war while sitting next to his Russian counterpart, who must have been preoccupied with almost nothing else.

When it comes to its negotiations with Russia over Ukraine, China is treading very carefully. Although Mr. Xi may believe that he is confidently moving forward, some believe that Beijing's claim to neutrality is beginning to crumble at the edges.

Following meetings, Wang Yi makes the claim that China and Russia are working together to promote "peace and stability".

Using phrases like "peace and stability" on a trip to Russia almost a year before that nation's invasion of Ukraine will seem absurd to people in other parts of the world.

Beijing is aware of this but has chosen to move forward anyway, knowing full well that it will damage its reputation, because it believes it is more crucial to provide Vladimir Putin with significant moral support at this time.

"I am ready to exchange views with you, my dear friend, on matters of mutual interest, and I look forward to reaching new agreements," Wang Yi said to Sergei Lavrov when they first met.

The foreign minister of Russia claimed that despite "high turbulence on the world stage," the two were demonstrating solidarity and defending each other's interests as if the turbulence was a phantom rather than the result of his own government's actions.

China's foreign minister, Qin Gang, issued a warning earlier this week in Beijing that the conflict in Ukraine might get out of hand if some nations keep adding fuel to the fire.

He was alluding to the US, a nation that openly offers military support to the Ukrainian army but has warned China not to give Russia ammunition and weapons.

Analysts are now asking what options China might consider if it looks like President Putin is facing a humiliating battlefield defeat.

American researchers claim that Beijing is already supplying Russia with dual-use technology, such as equipment that appears to be civilian but can also be used, for example, to repair jet fighters.

Additionally, it hasn't made an effort to hide the fact that it is acquiring Russian oil and gas to replace the markets that its neighbor lost as a result of the sanctions that followed the invasion.

And Vladimir Putin assured Wang Yi during their meeting that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would visit Moscow soon. This is anticipated to occur in the upcoming months.

The Kremlin is sort of carrying out China's dirty work. Does it really matter to Beijing if Russia's economy collapses as a result of it draining Western military resources and putting pressure on Nato? It will only require more Chinese products for the recovery afterwards.

The issue is that Western nations have been remarkably united, Russia doesn't seem to have much chance of winning, and China is increasingly being seen supporting a bully who dragged Europe into a bloody, protracted war.

The rest of the world does not want Asia's giant to be further drawn into this conflict than it already is, so China must be careful not to take on more than it can handle.

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