China, Russia, Chinese Government discussed on Monocle 24: The Globalist
Very little indication of that so far. It has created huge economic pressures and indeed is creating massive disruption for people in their everyday lives. But there's a couple of elements to it. First of all, it also seems that he quite likes this control, being able to arbitrarily lock places down, I mean, you see the use of COVID lockdown techniques and being directed not just for health purposes, but to specific political effects and there's a sort of given his approach to the system as a whole, this kind of centralized control model. It does actually seem like it's something you'd rather like. But the economic costs have been significant. I think particularly for international firms that are used to having China as a well functioning supply location. This has been the biggest disruption that has been in decades actually. You have to go back to the early 90s to have something that looks like quite such an economic shock across such a sustained period of time. So you would think that he will be looking for a way out of it, but he's put so much personal emphasis on the zero COVID policy. He's very, very personally associated with this. And it's being portrayed as the kind of ideological success on China's part by contrast to the feckless west. So I think he's still quite tied to it for now and it's still difficult to see an easy way out, particularly given the Chinese government's unwillingness to roll our mRNA vaccines given the failures of their own vaccine. And another big headache, of course, for him is Ukraine. We saw at the start of the year that declaration of friendship with a Putin's Russia, they were pretty pally the pair of them at the opening of the Beijing, Winter Olympics. What's the state of their alliance now and are there any jitters in the party about it? I wouldn't necessarily say jitters in the party, but I mean, this was for China and procedure ping partnership with Russia of this quality and depth was understood to be really the big prize for China. In a context in which Xi Jinping is kind of talking about struggle with the United States and struggle with the west as the main trend in the global system that they think they're having to face. Russia is one of the only full spectrum partners that they really have, militarily, diplomatically, in intelligence, and China doesn't have a fantastic list of partners and allies when you go down the list of North Korea, Cambodia, these sorts of countries. So a deep partnership with Russia was understood to be something of real value for China. They've been obviously disappointed that the war has gone so badly for them. I think they'd hoped it would be successful and successful quickly, and they'd be able to move on to other areas of cooperation. So you saw when the two men met in Samarkand, Putin mentioning some disquiet that had been conveyed on the Chinese side. And not that they're concerned about the conduct of the war atrocities or anything like this, but rather they would like this to be over. They'd like the effects on the global economic system to be to be over and they don't like the fact that they're so directly tied to this. Xi Jinping, as you mentioned, and very visibly and openly getting up with Putin to agree this no limits partnership back in February means that how Russia affects in this is also seen to be something broader than just a Russia Ukraine question. It seemed to be whether authoritarian powers are able to take on the west and succeed. And at the moment it doesn't look like it. And finally, just briefly, I mean, the situation in Hong Kong has changed dramatically in the past 5 years. Is that something that he's going to be sort of trumpeting and effective victory there assumption of the territory? And are we going to hear much on Taiwan? He has already been trumpeting this in his speech certainly. He's portrayed what's gone on in Hong Kong as a big success. And Taiwan, the language that's being used has been a little careful. We were potentially expecting some indications of timeline or kind of heightened threat. It's been a certain degree of continuity, which has been slightly reassuring given the extremely kind of belligerent context that we've been seeing from China around Taiwan, particularly after the Pelosi visit. But Hong Kong is being portrayed as a success model that could be replicated in the case of Taiwan. So there's no running back on that either and Taiwan is still portrayed very clearly as a start mission of the Chinese national for reunification and he's made it very clear that the use of force is not renounced. Andrew small, thank you very much.