The move of the Chinese leader aimed at talking to Europe: starting from the economic front, he would like to “separate” the European Union from the United States
Is Xi Jinping’s phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky another slick stroke of Chinese diplomacy, or is it just an attempt to right past mistakes? America divided in judgments, who White House To leading experts that the phone call sparks heated debate. The Biden administration asserts that Zelensky confronted Xi with his contradictions: The People’s Republic claims to respect the principle of sovereignty, which the Russian invasion has brutally violated. However, many are wondering why that phone call is being made now, 14 months after the attack.
According to Bill Bishop, author of one of the most authoritative newsletters on China, “The answer could simply be that This week, the European Union began formulating its new strategy towards Beijing». Many US experts believe that Xi’s move is primarily aimed at talking to Europe. Defensively, let’s start with: Many European governments were outraged after the misstep of the Chinese ambassador to France, Lu Chai, who questioned the sovereignty of the former Soviet Union countries, not only Ukraine but also Balts and others. Shi was going to have to do ‘damage control’. Overall, according to Philip Le Curie, an analyst at the Asia Society of New York, Xi’s alignment with Putin since the start of the war “has had a negative impact on China’s reputation in Europe, while Beijing needs to restore normal relations with the old continent.” Starting from the economic front, Xi would like to “decouple” the EU and the US Compared to the ban on supplying the People’s Republic with advanced technologies such as semiconductors. Nathan Levine, another expert with the Asia Society, focuses attention on Europe but in a negative way. Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to Beijing would have convinced Xi that this was the right moment to “break the unity of the West in Russia and in the war.” Macron’s declaration of Europe’s necessary “strategic autonomy” from the United States would have signaled that Atlantic solidarity was shaky.
A phone call to Kiev may be a “peaceful” gesture that helps some European governments breaking ranks. Daniel Russell, a former deputy secretary of state and Barack Obama’s advisor for Asia, notes that the appointment of the special envoy for Ukraine — Li Hui, a heavyweight of Chinese diplomacy — confirms “the proliferation of these special representatives of Xi, and is a sign of China’s growth in global stature.”
In Washington, this global projection is a concern: Xi’s success as a mediator between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran was not well received. For a more negative analysis of the phone call to Zelensky, you can write an article about foreign affairsJournal of Political Geography. Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage provided the background for that initiative. They set three goals for Xi, at this point in the conflict gone wrong (Putin in February 2022 promised his Chinese ally a quick victory). First: to prevent the defeat and fall of Putin, the possible disintegration of Russia, the victory of the American centralized system. Second: He played a decisive role after the war, including an economic relationship with Ukraine, in the reconstruction. Xi will engage in a process of balancing, diversifying and hedging risks: without abandoning Putin, but in order to minimize the damage to China. The more dangerous version of this analysis adds this: Xi gives Zelensky hope for Chinese mediation just as the Ukrainian military counteroffensive is about to begin, and in doing so hopes to slow down any successes of Kiev on the ground. The Asian aspect is also repeated in the American analyses. Xi also suffers from damage to his reputation in Japan and South Korea. As a result of his flattening of Putin’s aggression. Japan is rearming. South Korea has reached a “coordination agreement on the use of nuclear weapons” with the United States. All unwelcome events from the point of view of China’s national security. However, a reading that is limited to seeing the phone call as a damage-control operation underestimates its flip side: Xi has put American diplomacy under pressure. At least in the eyes of some European allies, Washington risks leaving the image advantage to Beijing: the advantage of doing something to open the way for the negotiation to begin.
April 27, 2023 (changed on April 27, 2023 | 22:45)
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