New Delhi: In recent days, China has launched an assertive charm offensive, kicking off with top diplomat Wang Yi’s tour of Europe which culminated in a warm welcome by Vladimir Putin in Moscow, according to a media report.
Beijing has released not one but two position papers – the first offering the Chinese solution to the war and the other outlining a plan for world peace, BBC reported.
These largely retread the talking points China has reiterated in the past year, calling for respect for sovereignty (for Ukraine) and the protection of national security interests (for Russia), while opposing the use of unilateral sanctions (by the US).
The West may come away unimpressed – but convincing them was never likely the main goal for Beijing, BBC reported.
Firstly, it clearly seeks to position itself as a global peacemaker. An obvious clue about who it’s really trying to charm lies in one of its papers where it mentions engaging South East Asia, Africa and South America – the so-called Global South.
In preaching an alternative vision to a US-led world order, it is wooing the rest of the globe which is watching to see how the West handles the Ukraine crisis, BBC reported.
But another goal is to send a clear message to the US.
“There is an element of defiance,” said Alexander Korolev, an expert in Sino-Russian ties with the University of New South Wales.
“It is signalling: ‘If things get ugly between us, I have someone to go to. Russia is not alone, which means that I will not be alone when there is a confrontation don’t get comfortable in bullying me’.”
The timing, say observers, is a giveaway. Relations between the US and China have hit a new low, exacerbated by the spy balloon. Some have also questioned why China has made its big diplomatic push for Ukraine peace only now, BBC reported.
“China had ample opportunities to display leadership, it was invited early on to contribute to ending the war… If the goal was to truly display the image of a global leader, you don’t have to sit on the fence for one year and try to perform a diplomatic dance,” said Korolev.
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