As Russia raises nuclear specter in Ukraine, China appears the opposite manner

As Russia raises nuclear specter in Ukraine, China looks the other way

In the Chinese readout of the meeting, Xi did not even refer to the much-heralded “strategic partnership” between Beijing and Moscow, observed Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing. It was “the most prudent, or most low-key statement in years” issued by Xi on their strategic relationship, Shi said.

The shift in tone is unsurprising given Russia’s string of humiliating defeats on the battlefield, which has exposed Putin’s weakness to his friends and enemies alike. Those setbacks come at a bad time for Xi, too, who is only weeks away from seeking a norm-breaking third term at a key political meeting.

Under Xi, China has forged ever closer ties with Russia. Already facing domestic woes from a slowing economy and his unrelenting zero-Covid policy, Xi needed a projection of strength, not vulnerability, in his personally endorsed strategic alliance.

Six days later, in a desperate escalation of the devastating war, Putin announced a “partial…