Trade and geopolitics
No limits: What China stands to gain from Russia’s war with the West
Published 21 March 2023
China's close ties with Russia have allowed Beijing to benefit disproportionately from Putin's war on Ukraine and the West's response. The war increasingly makes Moscow economically beholden to China, keeping Moscow's wartime economy afloat and the West embroiled in a protracted conflict. As it solidifies, the Sino-Russia nexus presents a longer-term threat to global trade.
Just weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Presidents Putin and Xi signed a joint statement declaring “no limits to Sino-Russian cooperation” and “no forbidden zones.” Beijing has not repudiated this statement. Ongoing and expanding economic relations with China have offered Russia a lifeline in the face of Western sanctions, mitigating the consequences of its isolation from the global financial system.
In this paper, Emily de la Bruyère and Nathan Picarsic of Horizon Advisory argue that the Ukraine war and its continuation serve Beijing's interests. It diminishes Russia's economic strength and geopolitical positioning, making the country beholden to China. The war also keeps the West embroiled in a protracted conflict that risks draining energy resources, defense industrial base capabilities, and political resolve to compete abroad. Meanwhile, Beijing's ability to maintain diplomatic and commercial ties to the countries resisting the Russian invasion has allowed it to avoid consequences for its support to Russia. The Sino-Russia partnership could buttress Beijing's international standing and influence, with significant implications for multinational businesses, governments elsewhere, and its strategic rivalry with the US.
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