The key dynamics at play in the evolving global order are that Russia and China have been advocating a shift away from a system led by Western values and rules, challenging the traditional dominance of Western powers in the international system. However, as per North America’s perspective, the notion that the Chinese and Russian alliance is growing faster may be overstated, writes Valdai Club expert Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu.
The meeting between the leaders of Russia and China is viewed by North America as a challenge to the West, with Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow and Joe Biden’s almost-simultaneous visit to Ottawa both playing a part in shaping this perspective.
President Xi Jinping’s recent state visit to Russia and meeting with President Vladimir Putin has significant implications for China’s foreign policy and its role in global politics. By showcasing its growing diplomatic influence and pursuing an assertive foreign policy, China aimed to strengthen its strategic partnership with Russia and convey a message to the Western powers that it is willing to work with Russia to safeguard the international order.
The visit also highlighted the importance of Russia as a strategic partner for China, especially in the context of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis. By deepening its ties with Russia, China could potentially benefit from Russia’s vast energy resources, its advanced military technology, and its geopolitical influence in the Eurasian region.
However, the growing closeness between Russia and China has raised concerns among some Western nations, which think that the partnership could pose a threat to their interests and challenge the existing global order. This has led to growing concern in both China and the Western nations regarding issues such as trade, human rights and regional security.
President Xi’s visit to Russia demonstrated China’s commitment to pursuing a more assertive foreign policy and building stronger ties with its key strategic partner. However, the growing alignment between China and Russia also poses potential challenges for the international community that will have to be managed carefully in the years to come.
China’s relations with Western nations have indeed become complex and multifaceted, and President Xi’s visit to Moscow involved a range of diplomatic and economic considerations.
The discussions also focused on cross-border issues, including defence cooperation through NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and the Arctic, in light of the recent downing of unidentified aerial objects, including a Chinese spy balloon that traversed both Canadian and American airspace. Discussions also included modernising the safe third country agreement to address irregular border crossing tensions. However, the leaders also discussed their continued support for Ukraine, as they shared the view that Russia must be held accountable for the on-going Russia-Ukraine crisis. This visit highlighted the strong and enduring partnership between the US and Canada and their shared commitment to promoting partnership, security and prosperity in North America and beyond.
One potential strategy could be for China to present itself as a neutral peace broker in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, thereby maintaining good relations with both Russia and Western nations. At the same time, President Xi may explore opportunities to assert China’s role in shaping regional and global affairs, including in areas such as trade, security, and diplomacy.
President Xi’s visit to Moscow may reflect China’s broader efforts to navigate a complex and dynamic global environment while advancing its own interests and priorities. Additionally, by presenting itself as a responsible and constructive player in global affairs, China may seek to counter negative perceptions or criticisms of its policies and actions, and promote greater international cooperation and collaboration.
The fact the that Russia-Ukraine crisis was a top item on the agenda during the bilateral meeting between US President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau highlights that both leaders have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine. In addition, the signing of an agreement between the US and Canada to develop semiconductor capacity is significant. The current global shortage of semiconductors has highlighted the vulnerability of countries that rely on foreign manufacturers for this critical technology. By developing their own semiconductor capacity, both countries seek to reduce their reliance on foreign suppliers and increase their strategic autonomy.
Overall, these developments indicate a shifting global landscape, with China and Russia seeking to challenge the dominance of Western powers, and Western powers seeking to maintain their influence and strategic autonomy in the face of these challenges. The on-going crisis in Ukraine and the global semiconductor shortage are two examples of the complex geopolitical issues that are shaping this evolving global order.
The key dynamics at play in the evolving global order are that Russia and China have been advocating a shift away from a system led by Western values and rules, challenging the traditional dominance of Western powers in the international system. However, as per North America’s perspective, the notion that the Chinese and Russian alliance is growing faster may be overstated, as China has not provided significant military support to Russia during the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Meanwhile, the Western nations and their allies have strengthened their relationships and networks since the Russia-Ukraine crisis began. They have bolstered their partnerships in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the G7 (the G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union), in the Indo-Pacific region, and in other areas. This indicates that Western leaders are committed to maintaining their influence and strategic autonomy in the face of challenges from China and Russia.
China and Russia are trying to tighten their relationship; from the Western perspective, this is due to their lack of strong international support, which has strategic implications. Today, this is a key dynamic relationship to watch as the global order continues to evolve. The message that Western leaders are trying to put forward is that the West is the decision maker and responsible for maintaining the world order. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the rise of a multipolar world order is inevitable, and the West may need to adjust its approach to accommodate this new reality.