With the spotlight being on Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and the West’s response, little mention has been made of the Chinese position. Xi Jinping has urged a negotiated settlement and the signs are he wishes to distance himself from Putin’s actions. It is true Russia and China have grown closer in recent years and trade has increased significantly between the two powers, with Russia exporting more than it imports. This trade advantage may be under threat if the war in the Ukraine continues for many months.
The Chinese regime does not want political and economic instability; this will dampen China’s ambition to finally surpass the USA, to become the world’s leading economy. She has a vested interest in calling for an end to hostilities; in fact, Xi Jinping has a golden opportunity to play “honest broker” between Russia, the Ukraine and the West. China does have leverage with the Kremlin and it would be an act of great statesmanship if China backed a ceasefire in the Ukraine and the establishment of an international tribunal to resolve the differences between Russia and the Ukraine.
The negotiations today between Russian and Ukrainian government officials may yield some grounds for a peaceful resolution, although many commentators have expressed doubt that Putin withdraw troops without demanding unreasonable concessions by Ukraine. If the talks end in failure, then China may well take the initiative to preserve her economic ambitions.