Xi in Moscow: Russia Offers China a Glimpse of Its Own New Future
Xi in Moscow
Xi in Moscow : With Chinese President Xi Jinping set to make a major three-day visit to Moscow this week, China has every reason to confront Russia’s growing international isolation. Beijing has two agendas: to explore Russia’s unique experience of surviving harsh Western sanctions, and to gain a foothold in the Russian market, which has been abandoned by Western companies. Both countries confront the West, albeit on a different scale and for different reasons, defining their common interests regardless of current events.
The Chinese president wants to assess the stability of the Russian state in the face of unprecedented external difficulties. Xi’s Russia today is a huge laboratory in which the government conducts an experiment in forced separation from the Western economic, industrial, cultural and financial sectors.
Xi in Moscow: With the opportunity to watch the experiment in real time, Beijing can brace itself for a similar shock as China’s own confrontation with the West deepens. For years, Washington has gradually distanced Chinese companies from Western markets, technology and services. This approach is the official credo of President Donald Trump, but it still holds true under Joe Biden.
Chinese leaders are deeply concerned that Washington took the time to impose sanctions on China even after the United States appeared exhausted last year by imposing too many new sanctions on Russia over its aggression in Ukraine. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the US has imposed new microelectronics export controls on China and added 110 Chinese companies to some export sanctions lists.
Moreover, to Beijing’s dismay, all US strategic documents list Russia and China as America’s main strategic rivals, sometimes along with Iran and North Korea. Since 2019, the EU has taken a softer but similar approach, calling China a “systemic competitor” in its strategic assessment.
Normal circumstances would have required China to adjust to the restrictions on its own, but due to Russia’s policies, Beijing now has a rare opportunity to anticipate its future and make preparations for it. Given that Russia managed to avoid collapse in every significant economic sector a year after the invasion, there is undoubtedly something to be learned.
Even though it only makes up 2% of the world’s economy, Russia is at war with 60% of it. With no access to capital markets, it is unable to conduct regular business with its long-standing trading partners (the EU accounted for 38% of Russia’s total trade volume in 2021). Despite this, the nation has so far avoided severe bank failures, extremely high unemployment, and product shortages.
China’s economy is much more diversified and stable, but it still depends heavily on raw material imports and foreign markets for its exports. Xi has worked to reduce reliance on exports by boosting domestic consumption ever since he took office, and he anticipates resolving the raw materials issue by enhancing relations with Xi in Moscow.
In actuality, China has already absorbed a sizable portion of Russia’s exports; in 2022, trade between the two countries increased by a third, reaching $190 billion. At the same time, with a growth rate of 44% versus 14%, Russian exports to China outgrew Chinese imports Xi in Moscow.
Xi in Moscow Beijing makes sense in helping Russia survive while also wanting to study Russia’s experience and divert attention away from a standoff with Beijing from the EU and US.
Even if the government and the entire population of the country supported Ukraine, China’s fundamental interests would prevent it from joining sanctions against Moscow. Beijing still views Russia as a unique source of resources and expertise that would be too expensive and difficult to obtain independently.
Xi in Moscow To stake a claim on the Russian market that European businesses have left unattended is the second reason for Xi’s visit to Russia. A significant portion of Xi’s fifty-car motorcade was made up of Chinese business executives eager to protect their gains from the previous year.
Xi in Moscow Chinese companies will fill the void left by Western firms, continuing the process already underway in the auto industry, which will spread to other industries. Despite all of the dramatic announcements, only 8% of G7 and EU companies have so far divested from Russia since the war began, so that process is still in its early stages.