Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke out against the use of nuclear weapons in Europe and the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. Observers called it Xi’s appeal to Putin and China’s first such direct statement of disagreement with the Kremlin’s course.
Details. At a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said he opposed the use of nuclear weapons in Europe and the escalation of the war in Ukraine. During the talks, he stressed that it was important for the international community to oppose nuclear war in order to prevent a “crisis on the Eurasian continent.”
▪️At the talks, Xi and Scholz also discussed the energy and food crisis in the world. Xi Jinping also noted here that it is necessary to ensure stability in the supply of food and energy resources, which were disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This is the first time that China has spoken out so unambiguously about the war in Ukraine, declaring its disagreement with the policies of Vladimir Putin, Bloomberg notes. Joseph Gregory Mahoney, a professor of political science at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said in a conversation with the agency that these words should be interpreted as a “very important message.” According to him, they should “rejoice” those who hoped that China, as an important partner for Russia, would use this position to deter the Kremlin from nuclear threats.
At the same time, Noah Barkin, managing editor of the Rhodium Group think tank, believes that although Berlin will view the Chinese leader’s statement as a diplomatic victory, Xi still has not turned his back on Putin and will likely continue to support the Russian president.
Context. The Chinese leader has expressed his dissatisfaction with the war in Ukraine before. Thus, at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was held in September, Vladimir Putin acknowledged China’s “issues and concerns” in connection with the “Ukrainian crisis.” At the same time, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi bluntly told Putin that now is “not the era of wars.” Western officials saw in these statements a change in the global perception of the war and annoyance by Moscow’s eastern partners.
Since the beginning of the war, Putin has hinted several times at the possibility of using nuclear weapons. In September, he already claimed that he was “not bluffing” when he spoke about the possibility of using “every means at our disposal,” and in October, Putin and the leadership of the Ministry of Defense began to claim that Ukraine was allegedly preparing to detonate a “dirty” nuclear bomb.