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Kindly Neighbors
China is Willing to Help a Hurting Russia

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that Beijing is willing to help Moscow during its dark economic times. Reuters reports:

Wang, speaking to reporters over the weekend, said that Russia also had the “wisdom” to get out of difficulties, the official China Daily reported.

“If the Russian side needs, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity,” he said, noting that the two countries had consistently helped each other.

He did not elaborate.

This announcement of a general willingness to help is hardly a simple act of kindness. With the plummeting ruble eating away at Russia’s purchasing power, China may be aiming to protect its very significant investment in trade with Moscow. If you had just gotten extremely favorable terms in a gas deal that you had been working on for 10-plus years, you might also want to make sure your partner could keep up his end of the bargain.

But whatever sort of “help” China gives, if any, it won’t come cheap. Though Beijing has an interest in keeping Russia afloat, it knows just how weak Putin is right now—and will be looking to make the most of its advantage.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This is more about shoring up a huge strategic vulnerability, than helping the Russians. At the moment nearly all of China’s trade is shipped in and out of their sea ports. At the same time they are the belligerent in territorial demands on all of their neighboring countries. These countries sit astride all of China’s shipping routes, and therefore an embargo would crush China’s economy cutting GDP by 40% or more. If this was to happen Russia would be their only source of raw materials and oil, and therefore critical in to their survival in a general war with their neighbors around the South China Sea.

    • Pete

      Good thought. You’re thinking ahead.

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