Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Borislav exclusively for SouthFront
China marked an important date on July the 1st, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. The President of China Xi Jinping, made a statement at the ceremony dedicated to this event. Along with the congratulations, Xi Jinping noted some important things in his speech.
“The world is on the verge of radical change. We see that the European Union is gradually falling apart, how the US economy is crashing, and that all this will end with a new rearrangement of the world. In 10 years we can expect a new world order in which the key factor will be the alliance between China and Russia.”
In a sense President Xi Jinping is offering that Russia make the next step and move on from a political and economic partnership, to a military-political alliance, capable not only of confronting growing challenges, but also providing leadership after the currently existing order. It is remarkable how delicately the Chinese state makes such a serious proposal to Russia, and this is happening shortly after the Russian President’s visit to China. During the visit there were negotiations taking place, framework agreements concluded and real contracts signed. But most importantly, President Xi Jinping’s offering was made in a ceremonial sitting of the ruling party of China. This emphasizes that Russia is not at all pressured and no one expects an immediate response to this very important issue.
“We are currently observing the USA’s aggressive actions, both in regards of Russia and China. I believe that Russia and China can create an alliance before which NATO would be weak, and this would put an end to the imperialist ambitions of the West” stated Xi Jinping.
This is already an invitation using a direct text without any Asian loop-backs, which can sometimes be difficult to understand. I do not dare to predict what will be Putin’s reaction, but the specific way in which President Xi Jinping made the proposal, leaves no opportunity to respond with an indeterminate style. Interestingly, very recently the leadership of China and the Russian president stated that they have no intention of entering into any military blocs, and they have no intention of teaming up against third parties. But as we see the situation in the world is rapidly changing, and the timely question of an alliance stands sharply, after the otherwise cautious Chinese management is taking the initiative.
China has been a complicated partner in the past. Russia has had many disagreements with it. But now it is obvious that China is ready to help Russia in case of a possible military and political complications in its relations with the West. A similar proposal was missing at the time of the USSR. During the Cold War, China was gaining strength behind the Soviet Union and had taken the position of “when the bear and the tiger fight, the cunning monkey observes from the tree and waits for them to tire out.” But that did not happen.
What happened is that in the early 70’s Henry Kissinger arrived in China on a secret mission, and using the contradictions between the Chinese and Soviet Communists, came to an agreement with Mao and Zhou Enlai for closer relations. At that time relations between the USSR and China were marred by border conflicts on Damansky island, and around Lake Zhalanashkol, and there was no visible reason to quickly overcome this crisis. A benefit from this of course, were quick to seize the Americans. As a result, China became a good addition to the pressure on the Soviet Union, which was forced to create a powerful military group in Zabaykalsk and in the Far East, and defense spending reached 24 percent of GDP. The results of this long-opposition are well known. The warming of relations between the USSR and China, beginning in 1985, had no effect on the USSR as the power headed by Gorbachev, surrendered the country.
Russia currently has a real opportunity to redistribute the heavy responsibility that lies on its shoulders. The second cold war with Russia is already on, and it is unclear whether it will be as the first was. Lets recall that the West broke the promises made before the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, that NATO would not spread farther than the borders of Germany, ie in Eastern Europe. NATO acquired former USSR allies in Eastern Europe, and later it acquired former republics of the USSR. Then there is the withdrawal from the treaty on missile defense. An “arc of instability” from the Middle East to Afghanistan was unleashed in the underbelly of Russia and China, and secular regimes in the Middle East were forcibly removed and replaced by a terrorist caliphate. A Euromaidan was lit in Ukraine, a war in Donbass. And this is just the beginning of another flare-up.
The Chinese leadership is not at all shy to say that China doesn’t have enough forces to counter the rising threats alone, especially those of a military nature. Despite the considerable economic success, many state structures in China are not modernized.
“The creation of an army that corresponds to the international status of our country is a strategic task. We have to synchronize our economic development with the development of our defense. We need to modernize the army, so that it becomes a strong and modern army. We must reform the military, as to create a disciplined army, capable of victory.”
I dare assume that Xi Jinping spoke about the modernization of the Chinese army after his impressions of the joint Russian-Chinese military exercises, and especially after watching the success of the Russian Aerospace forces in Syria. We can assume that the price for an alliance with China will be a modernization of the Chinese armed forces to Russian standards. There may be other “underwater stones”, but we will not talk about this just now. What matters is that Russia is not pressured to give a quick response and create the alliance that China desires. The contract for a military-political cooperation will necessarily be preceded by talks in which both sides will do everything so there are no ambiguities left. No less important is that Russia and China have a lot to offer each other, and this is a good opportunity for Russia to relieve some of the opposition burden onto its ally, but also to stimulate the process of re-industrialization. We now await Russia’s response and the reaction of the “world community.”