Commentary: Can China really end the Russia-Ukraine war with one phone call?

by Admin
Commentary: Can China really end the Russia-Ukraine war with one phone call?

Moscow imports Chinese goods en masse because they are cheap and allow its workers to focus on higher-end labour, thus speeding production and limiting costs. But if China were to stop all dual-use exports toward Russia (notably vehicle parts), the Russian industry could replace most of them with domestic production over time. It would be costly and painful for sure, but not enough to break its military apparatus.

In any case, China is not Russia’s only enabler. The Kremlin can count on North Korea, Iran and even goods discreetly imported through third parties from the West.


Still, debating potential Chinese pressure on Russia is moot since China has no interest in weakening Russia. The war in Ukraine has been ongoing for well over two years.

If Mr Xi believed that the Russian invasion seriously threatened China’s security or welfare, he would already have reacted. There is no reason to expect a sudden change of heart in Beijing this late in the conflict.

To be clear, China has maintained that it is a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict and is committed to promoting talks for peace. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last month that Mr Xi, in a phone call between the two men, said that he would not sell weapons to Russia.

But Beijing has a vested stake in Moscow winning its war against Ukraine.

First, Russia is the only world power that enjoys close relations with China. A defeated and weakened Russia would leave Beijing alone in its competition with the United States and its formidable alliance network.

Conversely, a powerful Russia would help counterbalance Washington. If Mr Xi, too, decided to use force to solve the Taiwanese issue or other border conflicts, he would be happy to receive support from a strong Vladimir Putin.

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