The Financial Times:
The United States has told its allies that China has signaled its willingness to provide military assistance to Russia to support its invasion of Ukraine, according to officials familiar with US diplomatic cables on the exchange.
The cables, which were sent by the US State Department to allies in Europe and Asia, were not specific about the level or timing of assistance that could be provided.
The Financial Times reported on Sunday that Russia made the request for assistance sometime after the start of the dispute, which has now lasted three weeks.
The Russian request and the Chinese response sounded the alarm at the White House. US officials believe China is trying to help Russia while its top officials publicly call for a diplomatic solution to the war.
The Chinese Embassy in the United States said on Sunday that it was not aware of any Russian request or positive Chinese response in Moscow. Russia also denied on Monday that it had made any request to China…
A somewhat vague report (inevitably, probably), but I’d be surprised if China were do not ready to reach out to Putin. Beijing now has Russia where it wants it, placed in a decidedly subordinate role in the partnership of the two countries, thanks to the position of isolation in which Moscow now finds itself. Any risk of regime change (however minimal) in Russia would therefore not be helpful, but I would expect that (this, needless to say, is conjecture) any support would be limited. Beijing would not want to see Russia do too well, something that might give Putin some ideas above his new station.
As for the argument that a protracted conflict in Ukraine (and accompanying sanctions) is hurting the Chinese economy, it is important to remember that for a fascist regime like (more or less) China’s, the economic is secondary to politics. Beijing can also calculate that if the conflict in Ukraine escalates from a headline-grabbing war to a long and drawn-out insurgency, the Western appetite for lasting sanctions, at least at current levels, will fade.
Meanwhile, our cooperation with China on climate change (a relationship so vital that John Kerry wouldn’t want it disrupted by small issues like genocide) seems to be going wonderfully.
China is planning a massive increase in coal mining, a move that will dramatically reduce its dependence on imports and deal a blow to its near-term climate actions.
The National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s main economic planner, told officials from the main mining regions at a meeting late last week that it wanted to increase national production capacity by about 300 million tonnes, according to people familiar with the matter. It also plans to build a stockpile of 620 million tons of fuel shared between the government, miners and users.
Such an increase in production would reduce the country’s already low dependence on foreign imports after world prices rose to record highs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The measures also underscore concerns that China’s dependence on fossil fuels remains as entrenched as ever, as it seeks to strengthen energy security to limit disruptions to economic growth, regardless of the impact on its climate goals…
And there we have it.