No arms to Russia, signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. On Monday, March 14, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that the People’s Republic is not interested in providing Putin with military support for use in Ukraine. Thus denying American sources who considered a supply operation very likely as an apparent attempt to take advantage of the increasingly friendly relations between the two powers, each touted in recent months.
For the occasion, the Chinese journalist Hu Xijin, in a video released by Global Times, said: “As a great military industrial power, Russia does not need to ask China to provide military assistance for the short war in Ukraine. she is not obligated to promise or export weapons to Russia. ”Although not a direct spokesperson for the Chinese Communist Party, Hu is in line with his views and has often been heard as a voice for statements that Chinese officials cannot make publicly. However, China is known in the past to supply Russia with military materials for conflicts along its border, such as winter coats and tents, but apparently not armaments. And since Beijing has already provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Xi Jinping’s government would have a hard time turning down similar support to Moscow or sending them weapons. Furthermore, although China and Russia have advertised greater collaboration at the expense of the United States in recent months, American officials believe that cracks emerged after the Russian invasion, the brutality of which, according to the CIA, took Beijing by surprise. that Xi himself last week called for “restraint” in Ukraine to “prevent a massive humanitarian crisis”.
Despite the expansion of military ties between China and Russia in recent years, driven by a common sense of threat from the US and its allies, the invasion of Ukraine and the global backlash has cast a shadow over their strategic collaboration. . Signs of bilateral military cooperation are likely particularly sensitive in Beijing at a time when countries around the world are calling on China to use its influence over Russia to stop the conflict. So right now, with many of the world’s advanced economies united in opposition to Putin’s war, Russia would probably be the party most interested in strengthening military relations with China.
Why Russia needs a Chinese military ally
Although the war in Ukraine has accelerated profound changes in Western defenses, from rising German and Finnish arms spending to Sweden’s rethinking of NATO membership, a swift end to the conflict through mediated peace or Russia’s withdrawal could to ease international pressure on Beijing to reduce its relations with Moscow, which at the moment only needs “smart” weapons and armored troops defenses, Russian President Vladimir Putin by maintaining power could guarantee stability in military ties, as the The strength of the strategic partnership was partly attributed to the close personal ties between him and the Chinese leader. It must in fact be considered that in the past (20 years ago) Chinese weapons were none other than Russian ones manufactured under license, before the famous Chinese “copying” led to the autarchic production of machine guns and small arms, but also of aircraft. In the past China has acquired Russian equipment and technologies essential for the modernization of its troops, several Chinese weapons are still clones of the Russian ones, such as the Type 81, a copy of the Kalashnikov machine gun, with the difference that over time Chinese production has been was quick to evolve. A future enhanced China-Russia military relationship could therefore see the two sides include sectors in which Beijing is not yet competitive. For example with technical cooperation for aircraft engines, joint development of new helicopters or submarines. The only limiting factor is the Chinese tendency to sell weapons to anyone who asks, while Beijing could lobby to limit the sale of Russian weapons to nations with which China has ongoing territorial disputes, such as India and Vietnam. However, if the conflict in Ukraine did not end quickly and the West remained united in its opposition to Moscow, China could feel increasingly pushed to distance itself publicly, especially considering that it needs trade, one of the first victims of a war. If Putin is removed, however, Xi may need time to familiarize himself and build trust with the new leader, taking a more cautious approach to military cooperation, with a drop in Chinese purchases of Russian arms and a halt to development projects. joint. The biggest loser would be Russia, however, as declining arms sales to China would further exacerbate tensions on its economy.