[…] The signal lamp on the bridge of Beijing’s diplomatic flagship has been flashing that its captain has changed course and wants the West, particularly the United States, to reconsider its depiction of China as a disruptive force bent on undermining the global economy’s steering system — that it is neither a rule-maker, nor a rule-taker, but a rule-breaker. This is not how China sees itself. Indeed, it has a strong interest in upholding a stable global economy while it struggles with its own economic challenges
China wants to re-enter the global community and, in particular, the global economy after flirting with developing a more self-reliant economy and a closer association with Putin’s Russia. The lessons learned and the conclusions drawn are that this was a blind alley and failed to offer China’s leadership what it wants more than anything else: economic growth. […]
On December 21, the chairman of Putin’s political party, Dmitry Medvedev, visited Beijing at the CCP’s invitation. The Chinese news agency Xinhua subsequently reported that Xi affirmed to his visitor that Beijing “decides its position and policy based on the merits of the matter concerned, upholds objectivity and fairness, and actively promotes peace talks. Hopefully, relevant parties will remain rational and exercise restraint, carry out comprehensive dialogue, and address joint security concerns through political means.” Not a word about “understanding,” let alone supporting Russian policy in Ukraine.
China did not impose sanctions on Russia after the attack on Ukraine but neither did it substantially step up economic cooperation with Russia to alleviate the effect of Western sanctions. It is the second biggest holder of U.S. Treasury bonds and could easily have made life difficult for Washington by selling some. It didn’t do so.
In a remarkable signal of policy change already last summer, then-vice foreign minister Le Yucheng, who was in charge of relations with Russia and who had repeatedly stressed the depth and warmth of the bilateral relationship, was removed from his post and now serves as deputy head of the National Radio and Television Administration. Until then, he had been seen as one of the top candidates to replace Wang Yi as minister for foreign affairs. When the name of the new foreign minister was announced at the same time, the ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, got the nod. Läs artikel