Chinese President Xi Jinping’s participation in the G20 Summit has been an opportunity for Western States to reconsider their relations with Beijing. After his bilateral meeting with Jinping, the President of the United States (US) Joe Biden said that they are “against the use and threat of using nuclear weapons.” China, on the other hand, was careful about not to mention Russia’s name in any way in its press releases.
From this point of view, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM) presents the views it received from Mateusz Chatys, Researcher at the Center for Asian Affairs-the University of Łódź, in order to evaluate the effects of the G20 Summit on regional and global geopolitics and the future of China-Russia relations.
- The statement of “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine” was included in the final declaration of the G20 Summit. What kind of messages do you think the leaders of India and China gave to the world at the G20 Summit?
In my opinion, China and India used the G20 summit to repair the loss of image in the international arena resulting from cooperation with Russia. Thus, they indicated that they are pursuing a responsible policy aimed at stabilizing the international situation.
- What will be the reflections of the US President Joe Biden & Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting on regional and global geopolitics?
I am convinced that a large part of the international community breathed a sigh of relief after this meeting, given the growing tensions in bilateral relations over the past few months. Certainly, the high-level meeting eased fears of the looming Taiwan Strait conflict, at least for the time being. While there are still a number of areas of fierce rivalry, the G20 summit meeting laid the foundations for a constructive discussion of differences between superpowers, including at lower levels of officials. For example, the U.S. Secretary of Defense met today with the Minister of Defense of the PRC in Cambodia on the sidelines of ADMM-Plus. Lloyd J. Austin III emphasized the need to improve crisis communications. Therefore, we can see the will to communicate despite many differences. It is worth underlying that it was their second meeting in six months and the first since a visit to Taiwan by the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in August. It is far more promising than the posture of Russia, which is reluctant to move forward with negotiations with Ukraine. Resuming the talks between China and the US is a win-win situation because the rest of the world – especially countries from such regions as Southeast Asia – don’t want to deal with another crisis.
- Do you think that China has started to move away from Russia (especially because of its nuclear threats) and seeks harmony with the West?
I don’t think China has begun turning its back on Russia. In official statements by the Chinese side, when there are references to the use of nuclear weapons, they never appear in the context of Russia. In addition, Chinese criticism of the use of nuclear weapons began to emerge as Vladimir Putin began to tone down his narrative about a potential nuclear attack, which is also not without significance. Moreover, in the official statements of the Chinese side, after Xi Jinping’s meetings with Joe Biden or Emmanuel Macron, we will not find a single mention of nuclear weapons. In turn, in the Chinese media, we can read that the potential use of nuclear weapons by Russia would be in the form of self-defense against aggression by the West / NATO. Finally, let’s take a look at numbers. According to the results of ten months of this year, the value of gas imports from Russia to China increased by 182%, amounting to $3.1 billion. Over the same period, LNG export from Russia to China increased by 32% to 4. 98 million tons. Oil supplies over this period increased by 9.5% to 71.97 million tons.
Simply put, it is too soon to think about divorce in China-Russia relations. Moreover, I don’t think at this point that there is any chance of seeking harmony with the West by China. We are dealing with a clear ideological rivalry between the U.S.-led Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and China-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative and the Community of Common Destiny, together with the recently introduced Global Development Initiative (GDI) and Global Security Initiative (GSI).
Mateusz Chatys is a Researcher at the Center for Asian Affairs-the University of Łódź. A graduate of the University of Lodz in the field of International Relations, Oriental specialty, second degree studies. PhD student at the Department of Eastern Asia of the Faculty of International and Political Studies at the University of Lodz. Member of a student research group of East Asia and the Pacific. Scholarship holder of the EU Window Chinese Government Scholarship program in China at Hainan University in 2015-2016. Participant of the China-EU Youth Thinkers Forum held in Shanghai in 2017. Team leader of volunteers during the summer school for Chinese students “Understanding Poland: Economy, Society and Science”. Research interests: economic expansion, investment policy in Southeast Asia, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, China’s foreign policy towards ASEAN countries.