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Russia-Ukraine War Catapulting China Into A Superpower – OpEd

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The game-changing event directly proportionate to China being catapulted into a Superpower at a little faster rate has been because of Russia’s invading Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The ongoing conflict is nowhere likely coming to an end in the near future and it is making it more and more convenient that Russia-Ukraine war is further helping the rise of China into a superpower with US making Zelensky to fight Ukraine’s last man to death with Russia. 

Russia-Ukraine War helping rise of China.

  • Security Situation in Europe. The disturbing security situation continues in Europe, with US-NATO pitched against Russia for the time to come while providing all out support to Ukraine to fight Russia. China because of the total US involvement in Ukraine is having a comparative easy situation in the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific region. This situation will allow PLA to indulge in some muscle flexing adventurism around Taiwan and Indo-Pacific region.
  • Oil and Gas. Russia’s isolation from its major oil and gas customers in Europe has come as a boon for China, particularly natural gas, since the two nations have already agreed to expand the existing pipeline network between them. Access to Russian oil at a significant discount to global crude prices does give Chinese refiners a big advantage. Large quantities of highly discounted Russian gas might give energy-intensive Chinese industry an enduring cost advantage. China has long been the world’s coal-burning energy giant. China is likely to take the advantage to build its oil and gas reserves due to large discounts and may in turn also export.
  • India–China border standoff. In the face of a prolonged standoff on the India–China border and the growing US–China rivalry, India finds itself leaning more towards the US and its allies. China having joined hands with Russia has put India in a difficult position due to its military hardware dependency on Russia. A Russia-China alliance will hit Indian security as 60% of India’s supply and spares of the existing military hardware still come from Moscow. To add to Indian concerns, Pakistan could join the Russia-China alliance and thereby also this is advantage China .So far India has not faced an issue but the problem can be foreseen in a future misadventure by China on our borders. President Putin and President Xi now being best of friends and President Xi likely to win a third term during the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) meeting commencing on 16 October 2022.President Xi on his friendship with Putin; “Truly Knows No Limits.”
  • Weakening of US President Biden. Another scenario that appears to again benefit China is a further weakening of US President Joe Biden. He is not in a strong hold of his party having a very thin majority in the Senate. After the November 2022 Congressional elections Biden’s position may be further weakened. This will again benefit China and especially President Xi who is again heading for a record third term entering his 11th year in power.
  • Trust Deficit. The parliamentarians of the European countries were correct to say that Europe failed in Afghanistan because Washington did not consider the Europeans worthy of informing its exit. However, it must be said that the Europeans did not fail in Afghanistan, but “the US imposed a political and military defeat on its European allies in a secret agreement with the Taliban”.Despite the fact that the US has become weaker, more unstable, and more unreliable after the Afghanistan exit. However, the European allies of the US have no choice but to follow the US by paying the costs towards restoring global leadership of the US through the Ukraine war.
  • Russia–Chinese Economic Cooperation. Russia-Ukraine war a boon for China as the conflict in Ukraine is having major strategic consequences for China. It has promoted the deepening of Russian–Chinese economic cooperation that will make both countries more resilient to Western economic sanctions. The conflict has shown that the Western sanctions have failed to prove the impact expected on the Russian economy without damaging its own economic stability. China on the other hand has seized the opportunities provided by the war. During the first four months of 2022, trade between Russia and China increased by 25.9 per cent. Russian exports to China grew by 37.8 per cent, to US$30.85 billion. The physical volume of natural gas exports also jumped 15 per cent. China has taken advantage of the Russian inability to sell its products to other countries. China has also taken advantage of Russia’s generous discounts.
  • US weak Pacific presence. Long-term instability in Europe will make it more difficult for the US to boost its Pacific presence for some time to come with significant US financial and military resources being drawn towards supporting Ukraine.

Speaking on the opening day of the 20th CPC meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated that China would “not renounce the use of force” and take all necessary measures to stop all “separatist movements’’ in Taiwan to unify it with the mainland. And it is near certain that President Xi Jinping will be appointed for a third five-year term as President, indicating that he had the consensus of the elders for a third term. Xi focused on security and policy priorities, such as securing food and energy supplies and supply chains and said the military would be modernised to “world-class standards” to protect sovereignty, security and developmental interests. All retired former leaders were seated in the front row along with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang. Among them were Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao and mentor Song Ping. 

With both US and Russia suffering due to the Ukraine war economically, China will be in a position to become the unchallenged superpower of the world. The above scenarios make it quite evident that Russia-Ukraine war is only helping the rise of China into an unrivalled superpower with Washington and Moscow fighting each other to weaken each other. These ongoing developments are a sign that President Xi Jinping will emerge stronger post the 20th CPC ensuring China’s further and speedier rise towards attaining the status of a Superpower leaving behind both the US and Russia. 

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