Xi Might Finally Be Losing Patience With Putin

Xi Might Finally Be Losing Patience With Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Sept. 16, 2022 (Sputnik photo by Sergei Bobylev via AP).

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, observers have been keeping a close eye on China’s reaction to determine how much support, whether diplomatic, economic or even military, Beijing might lend its isolated partner. After all, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion just weeks after a visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and signed a joint statement declaring that “the friendship between the two states has no limit.”

Just what that would mean in practice, however, remained vague and the subject of much speculation. In the months that followed, as the U.S. and its European allies began to pile economic sanctions on Russia—and plow weapons and other military assistance into Ukraine—there were still some fears that Beijing might help Moscow cushion the financial blow and even supply weapons to help the Russian war effort.

Those fears proved to be relatively unfounded. China has largely enforced the Western sanctions and has not been forthcoming with military assistance. But Xi and high-level officials in the Foreign Ministry adopted a narrative framing of the war and its causes that aligned with Russia’s justifications for the invasion, blaming Washington’s unilateralism rather than Moscow’s neo-imperialism for the conflict. That diplomatic support has offered a much-needed lifeline to Putin in the face of Western efforts to make him a global pariah.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review