The US tried to convince China to turn against Russia – but did it work? — RT World News

Washington essentially wants Beijing to disavow Moscow and then later face its wrath on its own

by Columnist for Kommersant Maxim Yusin

Antony Blinken traveled to China this week to warn Beijing of sanctions on the supply of military technology to Russia, according to the Financial Times and Bloomberg in their preview of the US secretary of state's visit.

They did not specify what penalties might follow. However, sources at the Financial Times indicated that financial institutions and others in China may face restrictions. Meanwhile, Moscow newspaper Izvestia revealed that several Chinese banks, including the larger Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), are not already accepting yuan payments from Russia, for fear of secondary sanctions. The newspaper claimed that nearly 80% of the payments were returned to China.

Washington appears convinced that China's support for the Russian defense industry, although not declared, is real and that this support has a significant impact on the course of the Ukrainian conflict.

Even taking all this into account, it was difficult to imagine that Blinken would communicate in the language of threats and ultimatums. The first experience of this type of rhetoric between the administration of US President Joe Biden and the Chinese showed that strong and rapid pressure does not work with the current leadership in Beijing.

In fact, it has the opposite effect. Proof of this was the failed meeting in Alaska in March 2021, when Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan tried to pressure their Chinese counterparts, only to be met with a harsh rebuke — and a public rebuke at that — that was far from the case. The spirit of Beijing's traditionally restrained diplomacy.

After that, Blinken adopted a more nuanced game. He likely tried to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing by exploiting the fact that Chinese peace initiatives to resolve the Ukrainian conflict do not match the maximum demands of Russian officials (at least publicly).

This may not have worked, especially since the Chinese explicitly announced on Friday that NATO was responsible for the Ukrainian crisis.

Beijing is calling for a cessation of hostilities, which in effect means freezing the conflict, but has made no mention of demilitarizing Ukraine, denazification or regime change in Kiev.

Recently, there have been signs that could be interpreted as Beijing's willingness to distance itself from Moscow.

Specifically, an article in The Economist by Feng Yujun, a professor at Peking University, caused a stir. This methodical and authoritative expert on Russia and the Ukrainian conflict speaks largely in the spirit of Western political thought: he criticizes Moscow, predicts its defeat, and praises Kiev for its efforts. “The strength and unity of its resistance” It even suggests that if Russia does not change its power structure, it will continue to threaten international security by provoking wars.

Knowing how Chinese society is organized, it is difficult to imagine that the professor who wrote this article was acting at his own risk without the support of responsible comrades in Beijing. The recent refusal of four major Chinese banks to accept payments from Russia, even in yuan, could also be seen as a worrying signal to Moscow. In other words, the Russia-China alliance, so strong in words, may turn out to be far from effective and trouble-free in practice. Blinken would certainly have tried to reinforce this trend.

But there's a problem: The overall context of US-China relations doesn't make it any easier for Washington.

The military aid package for Taiwan recently passed by the US Congress certainly does not create a favorable emotional backdrop for the delicate negotiations that Blinken has tried to manage in Beijing. Washington's efforts to create anti-China military and political alliances in the region – from the Philippines to Australia, from India and Vietnam to Japan – are also not conducive to mutual understanding between the two superpowers. American strategists do not hide the fact that the main, most dangerous and most principled geopolitical opponent of the United States is not Russia, but China.

If so, what is the benefit of Beijing meeting Washington's demands and joining its pressure on Moscow? Will it become necessary for Beijing later, when the United States achieves its goals in Russia, to confront it alone? This is hardly within the plans of Comrade Xi and his team.

This article was first published by KommersantTranslated and edited by the RT team

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