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Unveiling China’s Secret: $710B Military Mega-Budget Revealed

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Exposing China’s Hidden Defense Spending: A Game-Changer in Global Power Dynamics

A recent bombshell report from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has sent shockwaves through the international community, revealing startling revelations about China’s true defense expenditure. According to the report, China’s actual defense spending may soar to a staggering $710.6 billion, a figure nearly triple the officially reported $229 billion.

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This revelation has far-reaching implications, catapulting China from being perceived as a mere ‘pacing challenge’ to a dominant ‘pacing threat’ on the global stage. The implications of this massive underreporting are profound, as it sheds light on overlooked costs such as research and development, retirement benefits, and expenditures on paramilitary forces.

By unearthing these hidden expenses, the AEI report paints a stark picture of China’s military capabilities, revealing a level of investment that now almost rivals the United States’ $800-billion defense budget. This revelation has profound implications for global power dynamics, signaling a significant shift in the balance of military might.

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The implications of China’s burgeoning defense spending are manifold. Firstly, it underscores China’s relentless pursuit of military modernization and expansion, raising concerns about its intentions and ambitions on the world stage. Additionally, it challenges the longstanding assumption of U.S. military superiority, highlighting the need for a reassessment of strategic priorities and defense posture.

Moreover, China’s newfound military prowess has the potential to reshape regional security dynamics, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, where Beijing’s assertive behavior has already sparked tensions with neighboring countries. The prospect of a more formidable Chinese military presence poses a formidable challenge to existing security arrangements and alliances in the region.

Furthermore, the revelation of China’s hidden defense spending underscores the need for greater transparency and accountability in global security affairs. The disparity between officially reported figures and actual expenditures highlights the inadequacies of current mechanisms for monitoring and regulating military spending.

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In response to the AEI report, policymakers and defense analysts around the world are grappling with the implications of China’s expanded military capabilities. Questions abound about the appropriate response to China’s growing assertiveness, with calls for enhanced deterrence measures and closer collaboration among like-minded countries to counterbalance Beijing’s influence.

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Ultimately, the AEI report serves as a wake-up call for the international community, highlighting the urgent need to recalibrate strategic calculations in light of China’s evolving military capabilities. As the geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, understanding and addressing the true extent of China’s defense spending will be paramount in shaping the future of global security.

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Intelligence Advantage: Profiling African Leaders’ Meetings with U.S. Presidents

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How the CIA’s “Visit Pieces” Shape U.S.-Africa Diplomacy

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

Explore how the CIA’s leadership analyses, known as “visit pieces,” have provided U.S. presidents with strategic insights for meetings with African leaders, from the Cold War to today.

The Issue

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a crucial tool known as the “visit piece,” a detailed analysis of foreign leaders’ personalities, goals, and geopolitical strategies. This intelligence report helps the U.S. president gain a decision advantage during meetings with African counterparts. Historically, the CIA’s assessments have been pivotal in navigating the complex geopolitical landscape of Africa, particularly during the Cold War.

The Evolution of Leadership Analysis

Since its inception, the CIA’s leadership analysis has undergone significant evolution. Starting in the early 1960s, these reports were rudimentary but quickly became essential for presidential diplomacy. By the Carter administration, and especially under Reagan, the visit piece had matured into a sophisticated tool, offering deep insights into African leaders’ personalities and strategic intentions.

Creating the Visit Piece

Origins and Development:

1961: President John F. Kennedy, dissatisfied with his intelligence support post-Bay of Pigs, saw the creation of the President’s Intelligence Checklist, the predecessor to the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). This innovation was a response to the need for concise, insightful intelligence reports.

Kennedy’s Diplomacy: Kennedy’s personal engagement with African leaders necessitated detailed analyses of these leaders. His meetings were informed by assessments that provided not just political context but personal insights, such as the 1961 report on Sudanese General Ibrahim Abboud.

Growth and Refinement:

Carter and Reagan Eras: Under Carter, the CIA’s leadership analyses played a vital role, notably in Middle Eastern diplomacy. Carter’s approach influenced the rigor applied to analyses of African leaders. During Reagan’s tenure, the CIA’s visit pieces became more prominent, reflecting Reagan’s interest in personal diplomacy and Africa’s strategic importance.

The Elements of a Visit Piece

Personality: Understanding a leader’s disposition and temperament is critical. For example, the CIA characterized Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie as possessing “unusual personal vigor and determination” and Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda as “highly emotional.”

Goals: Identifying what African leaders aim to achieve from their U.S. engagements is essential. The CIA has highlighted various priorities, from financial aid requests to broader foreign policy goals, such as Senghor’s support for Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi.

Context: Analyzing the political, economic, and security backdrop provides a comprehensive understanding of a leader’s motivations. This includes their opinions on U.S. allies and adversaries, such as Senegalese President Abdou Diouf’s critiques of French policies.

Warning: Preparing the president for potential friction points ensures smoother diplomatic interactions. This element includes red flags about criticisms or demands that might arise, as seen in the analysis of Sudanese leader Jaafar Nimeiri’s controversial policies.

Outlook: Forecasting future developments helps in long-term strategic planning. This might include predicting election outcomes or assessing the stability of a regime, as with the CIA’s analysis of Nigerian leader Ibrahim Babangida.

Grading the Analysis

The effectiveness of visit pieces is measured by their impact on presidential diplomacy. Successful instances include:

Mobutu Sese Seko: Nixon and Kissinger skillfully acknowledged Mobutu’s balancing act between independence and U.S. alignment, reflecting the CIA’s insights.

Leopold Senghor: Carter’s understanding of Senghor’s mediator role in the Arab-Israeli conflict was shaped by detailed CIA profiles.

Samuel Doe: Reagan’s assurances to Doe about continued U.S. support were influenced by CIA warnings about Liberia’s economic vulnerabilities.

However, there have been notable misses:

Jaafar Nimeiri: Despite the CIA’s warnings about Nimeiri’s instability, Reagan’s administration did not adequately address the risks, leading to Nimeiri’s eventual ousting.

Economic Philosophies: The CIA sometimes failed to align its analyses with presidential interests, such as Reagan’s focus on free-market beliefs, highlighting a gap in understanding the principal’s priorities.

Profiling for the Future

As President Biden continues to engage with African leaders, the CIA’s visit pieces remain a critical resource. However, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) presents new opportunities for enhancing these analyses.

Recommendations for AI Integration:

Scale: AI can help generate profiles on entire delegations, adding depth to the president’s understanding of key figures beyond the primary leader.

Customization: AI can produce tailored reports for different U.S. officials, ensuring that all relevant stakeholders receive pertinent information.

Data Analytics: AI’s ability to process and analyze large datasets can strengthen the empirical basis of visit pieces, providing more nuanced insights.

The incorporation of AI into leadership profiling promises to maintain the high standards set by decades of CIA expertise while adapting to the evolving demands of modern diplomacy. By harnessing AI, the intelligence community can enhance the accuracy, depth, and relevance of its analyses, ensuring that U.S. presidents remain well-equipped to navigate the complexities of international relations, particularly with African leaders.

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China Conducts Punitive Military Drills Around Taiwan

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Beijing Responds to President Lai Ching-te’s Inauguration with Aggressive Military Exercises

In a show of force, China launched military drills around Taiwan following the inauguration of President Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing views as a separatist.

China initiated extensive military exercises around Taiwan on Thursday, signaling its discontent with what it termed “separatist acts” by newly inaugurated President Lai Ching-te. The drills, featuring heavily armed warplanes and simulated attacks, took place in the Taiwan Strait and near Taiwan-controlled islands close to the Chinese coast. These maneuvers come just three days after Lai assumed office, a move that Beijing has vehemently opposed, labeling Lai a “separatist.”

State media amplified the aggressive stance, underscoring Beijing’s intention to punish what it perceives as provocative actions by the new Taiwanese administration. The show of military might is part of a broader strategy to assert China’s claims over Taiwan and deter any moves towards formal independence.

This escalation highlights the fragile and tense relationship across the Taiwan Strait, with significant geopolitical implications for the region. Taiwan, for its part, has condemned the drills, calling for international support to counteract China’s coercive tactics.

Experts warn that such actions could heighten regional tensions and potentially lead to miscalculations that might spark a broader conflict. The international community, particularly the United States and its allies in the region, continue to monitor the situation closely, advocating for stability and dialogue over aggression.

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ATMIS Withdrawal Sparks Concerns Among East African Leaders

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President Museveni and President Ruto Warn of Increased Insecurity Amid Al-Shabaab Resurgence

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

Uganda and Kenya express concerns over the planned ATMIS troop withdrawal from Somalia, citing rising terrorism threats and regional instability.

The scheduled departure of ATMIS troops from Somalia has raised significant alarm among regional leaders, notably Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President William Ruto. The two leaders, whose countries contribute troops to ATMIS, voiced their concerns during a recent meeting in Nairobi. They emphasized the potential security vacuum that could be exploited by terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab, thus threatening regional stability.

The United Nations Security Council’s withdrawal plan involves removing 4,000 ATMIS troops by the end of June, following the departure of 5,000 troops last year. This downsizing has reportedly allowed Al-Shabaab to reclaim substantial territories, undermining recent military gains by Somali forces.

President Ruto and President Museveni

President Ruto highlighted that both he and President Museveni agree on the necessity of aligning the troop reduction with the security conditions in Somalia. Analysts and security experts have echoed these concerns, arguing that Somalia’s military is not yet equipped to maintain control over the reclaimed areas.

Abdisalan Guled, a former deputy security chief in Somalia, warned that the withdrawal could jeopardize the significant strides made against Al-Shabaab. He noted that central and southern Somalia remain hotspots for extremism, with numerous incidents reported in regions like Galmudug and Hirshabelle.

International partners, including the European Union, have also expressed apprehension. They caution that the Somali National Army (SNA) lacks the capacity to assume full security responsibilities, urging a reconsideration of the withdrawal timeline.

Since its inception nearly 17 years ago, ATMIS (formerly AMISOM) has played a crucial role in stabilizing key areas of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu. Despite criticisms over its inability to decisively weaken Al-Shabaab, ATMIS has been instrumental in maintaining a semblance of order and security.

Security expert Farah Ow Osman supports the Somali government’s request to delay the ATMIS withdrawal, arguing that an extension would provide Somali forces the necessary time to strengthen their position against Al-Shabaab. He suggests that this delay could potentially be endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, ensuring a smoother transition and sustained stability in Somalia.

The departure of ATMIS troops presents a significant challenge to the region’s security landscape. With Al-Shabaab poised to exploit any gaps left by the withdrawal, the concerns raised by Presidents Museveni and Ruto underscore the need for a carefully managed and strategically timed exit to prevent a resurgence of violence and instability. The coming months will be crucial in determining whether the gains made against terrorism in Somalia can be preserved and built upon.

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Biden Administration Rejects Global Tax on Billionaires

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US Stance Contrasts with Support for Global Minimum Corporate Tax

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

The Biden administration opposes a global tax on billionaires’ assets, a proposal supported by several G20 nations. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasizes progressive taxation but rejects international wealth taxation schemes.

A proposal under consideration by some G20 nations to impose a worldwide tax on the assets of billionaires lacks support from the Biden administration, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Yellen reaffirmed the U.S.’s commitment to progressive taxation, where the wealthy pay a larger share of their income. However, she clarified that the U.S. does not support a global arrangement for taxing billionaires, stating, “We’re not supportive of a process to try to achieve that. That’s something we can’t sign on to.”

Without U.S. backing, the proposal faces slim chances of implementation, despite support from leaders of large economies like France and Brazil. The U.S. stance on this issue contrasts sharply with its endorsement of a global minimum tax on international businesses, an agreement Yellen helped broker early in President Joe Biden’s tenure.

The Global Billionaire Tax Proposal

The aim of a global tax on billionaires is to curb tax evasion by the ultra-wealthy, who often move assets across borders to tax havens, avoiding domestic tax authorities. Unlike income tax, which can be minimized through various investment strategies, a wealth tax targets the total assets of billionaires.

Economist Gabriel Zucman, director of the EU Tax Observatory, highlighted the regressive nature of the current global taxation system at a G20 finance ministers meeting in February. Zucman’s research shows that billionaires often pay a lower effective tax rate than average taxpayers. He advocates for international coordination to establish a common minimum standard, arguing that it would prevent the ultra-wealthy from relocating to low-tax jurisdictions.

According to Zucman’s organization, a 2% annual tax on the wealth of approximately 3,000 billionaires worldwide could generate $250 billion in revenue each year.

Moral and Economic Arguments

Prominent economists have voiced support for the global billionaire tax. MIT professor and Nobel Prize-winning economist Esther Duflo, addressing a G20 meeting in Washington, backed the 2% tax and a global tax on international businesses. Duflo argued that the revenue should aid poor nations in adapting to climate change, framing it as a “moral debt” owed by wealthy individuals and corporations whose activities contribute significantly to global carbon emissions.

Duflo emphasized, “Rich people and rich corporations are making their income from selling their products everywhere in the world, including in poor countries. We are not talking about extortion; we are talking about paying your fair share.”

Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad also defended the proposal, highlighting the need for international taxation to address economic inequality and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Haddad stressed that individual national efforts are insufficient without international cooperation to prevent tax evasion by the wealthy.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva echoed these sentiments, advocating for fairness and efficiency in global tax systems. Le Maire stated, “You can count on France’s absolute support. It is a matter of efficiency and justice.”

Georgieva pointed out that in many countries, the wealthy pay fewer taxes than the middle class and even the poor. She called for closing loopholes and preventing tax evasion through international agreements that facilitate tax information sharing.

In conclusion, the Biden administration’s rejection of a global tax on billionaires highlights a significant divergence in approaches to international taxation. While the U.S. supports a global minimum tax on corporations, it remains opposed to a wealth tax on billionaires. This stance underscores the complexities and challenges in achieving international consensus on taxing the ultra-wealthy.

As the debate continues, the future of global taxation will likely depend on broader international cooperation and the willingness of major economies to align their tax policies to address growing economic inequalities and the pressing needs of climate change adaptation.

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International Criminal Court seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Gallant, 3 Hamas leaders

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The head prosecutor at the International Criminal Court announced Monday that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with three Hamas leaders in Gaza for war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the Israel-Hamas war, a decision that has triggered a slew of reactions.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog called the announcement “beyond outrageous and shows the extent to which the international judicial system is in danger of collapsing.”

Herzog added on his social media platform X post that “any attempt to draw parallels between these atrocious terrorists and a democratically elected government of Israel — working to fulfill its duty to defend and protect its citizens entirely in adherence to the principles of international law — is outrageous and cannot be accepted by anyone.”

Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz echoed Herzog’s comments calling ICC’s request to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant an “outrageous decision.”

In a post on social media platform X, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham decried the ICC decision. “The state of Israel is waging one of the just wars fought in modern history following a reprehensible massacre perpetrated by terrorist Hamas on the 7th of October,” he said. “The prosecutor’s position to apply for arrest warrants is in itself a crime of historic proportion to be remembered for generations.”

The Hamas Islamist group, which is designated by the U.S., the U.K and other countries as a terrorist militant organization, also denounced the ICC prosecutor’s decision to seek arrest warrants for three of its leading members. It accused ICC prosecutor Karim Khan of trying to “equate the victim with the executioner.” In a statement Monday, the group said it has the right to resist Israeli occupation, including “armed resistance.”

Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, hailed Khan’s decision.

“This principled first step by the prosecutor opens the door to those responsible for the atrocities committed in recent months to answer for their actions at a fair trial,” Jarrah said in a statement Monday.

ICC prosecutor Khan announced Monday that his office believes all five people bear responsibility for acts against humanity.

He said in a statement, Netanyahu and Gallant “bear criminal responsibility” for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including starving civilians as a method of warfare and intentionally directing attacks against civilians “as a means to eliminate Hamas, secure the return of the hostages which Hamas has abducted, and collectively punish the civilian population of Gaza, whom they perceived as a threat to Israel.”

In addition, Khan said, the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, commander of the Hamas military wing Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and the head of the Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, taking hostages as a war crime, rape, other sexual violence and torture.

“It is the view of my office that these individuals planned and instigated the commission of crimes on 7 October 2023, and have through their own actions, including personal visits to hostages shortly after their kidnapping, acknowledged their responsibility for those crimes,” Khan said. “We submit that these crimes could not have been committed without their actions.”

The prosecutor must request the warrants from a pre-trial panel of three judges, who will first examine the evidence before they decide if they move forward with arrest warrants.

Palestinians look at the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza, May 20, 2024.
Palestinians look at the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza, May 20, 2024.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, and even if the arrest warrants are issued, Netanyahu and Gallant do not face any immediate risk of prosecution. But Khan’s announcement increases Israel’s isolation as it presses ahead with its war, and the threat of arrest could make it difficult for the Israeli leaders to travel abroad.

Israel’s war in Gaza was triggered by the October Hamas terror attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people and led to the capture of about 250 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Israel’s subsequent counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 35,400 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, which includes civilians and combatants in its count, but says most of the dead are women and children.

Israel says it has killed more than 14,000 militants and around 16,000 civilians.

US talks

Meanwhile, Gallant said Monday that Israel is committed to broadening its ground operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, as he met with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Gallant said in a statement that he told Sullivan the effort in Rafah was aimed at dismantling the Hamas militant group and securing the return of the hostages still being held in Gaza.

Gallant also said he and Sullivan discussed ways to strengthen Israel’s position in the Middle East.

Sullivan met Sunday with Netanyahu to discuss a more targeted Israeli military operation against Hamas in Gaza that would lower risks of civilian collateral damage.

The U.S. official reiterated President Joe Biden’s “longstanding position on Rafah,” the White House said, referring to calls by Biden to avoid a major offensive in Rafah due to fears of a humanitarian disaster.

Netanyahu has vowed not to let up the fight against Hamas until the Islamist group is defeated and all remaining hostages are brought home.

However, his Cabinet is facing an internal rift on a postwar Gaza governance plan.

Benny Gantz, one of the ministers of his War Cabinet, threatened to quit the governing coalition Saturday, unless Netanyahu approves a postwar “action plan” by June 8.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

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Egyptian Woman Arrested for Attempting to Drug and Sell Child’s Organs Online

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Shocking Revelation Unveils Gruesome Plot in Port Said

An Egyptian woman was apprehended in Port Said while allegedly attempting to drug her child and sell his organs to an online trafficking network, echoing a recent incident that shook the nation’s conscience.

In a disturbing turn of events, Egyptian media reports reveal a harrowing plot unfolding in Port Said Governorate, where a mother, identified as “H.TH.D,” was apprehended by security services for attempting to drug her own child with the intent of extracting and selling his internal organs on the internet.

According to investigations into “Case No. 3593 of 2024 Misdemeanors of Flowers,” the woman, who is reportedly divorced and has two children, contacted individuals on social media known to traffic in human organs. She allegedly sent them photographs and videos of her child, Muhammad (8 years old), while he was completely naked, at the behest of these online contacts.

Further revelations emerged as it was uncovered that the mother complied with requests to administer narcotic medications to sedate her child. Subsequently, the child fell into a state of severe fatigue, necessitating his transfer to a hospital. Medical examination revealed that the child had received an overdose of the drug, prompting hospital authorities to alert security authorities.

During interrogations, the woman confessed to communicating with individuals online who instructed her to drug her child and photograph him in compromising positions. She also admitted to intending to sell her child’s organs to these online contacts.

This shocking incident evokes memories of a recent gruesome crime in the Shubra area of Qalyubia Governorate, where a young child was found mutilated, his internal organs removed and placed in a bag beside his body. Investigations into that case uncovered a similar motive – trafficking in human organs.

The apprehension of the woman in Port Said underscores the urgent need for greater vigilance against the heinous crime of human organ trafficking, as authorities work tirelessly to dismantle such networks and protect the most vulnerable members of society from exploitation.

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Museveni Backs Raila Odinga for AU Top Job Amidst Intense Competition

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has endorsed ODM leader Raila Odinga for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission (AUC). During his state visit to Kenya, Museveni reaffirmed his support, emphasizing the shared vision of a united East African Community (EAC).

Despite backing from EAC member countries, Odinga faces significant competition. Somalia has nominated former Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam, garnering substantial support from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Additionally, Seychelles supports former Vice President Vincent Meriton. Djibouti’s Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, is also in the race.

Raila Odinga, endorsed by EAC countries, aims to succeed the current AUC chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, whose term ends in February 2025. Odinga, known for his long-standing political influence in Kenya, seeks to bring his vision of unity and progress to the continental stage.

Somalia’s candidate, Fawzia Yusuf Adam, has secured over half the total support from African nations, thanks to backing from the OIC. Her candidature introduces a significant challenge to Odinga, highlighting the intense competition for the AUC chairmanship.

Somalia’s candidate, Fawzia Yusuf Adam

Seychelles has put forward Vincent Meriton, a seasoned diplomat with a focus on improving executive decision implementation at the AU. His entry further complicates the race, showcasing the diverse array of experienced candidates vying for the position.

In conclusion, the race for the AUC chairmanship is heating up, with strong candidates from across the continent. Museveni’s endorsement of Odinga signifies a strategic alignment within the EAC, but the competition remains fierce with significant support for candidates from Somalia and Seychelles.

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China and Russia Reinforce Strategic Partnership to Counter US Influence

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Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin Pledge Cooperation Against Washington’s Hostile Pressure

BY GUEST ESSAY:

In a bid to counter US influence, China and Russia have reaffirmed their strategic partnership, pledging to work towards a multipolar world and criticizing the US and NATO’s regional military presence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded his two-day trip to China, reaffirming a strategic partnership with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders criticized US and NATO’s influence in the Indo-Pacific and pledged cooperation against hostile pressures from Washington. They emphasized their commitment to a multipolar world and discussed resolving the Ukraine conflict through political means. Analysts note that Beijing and Moscow aim to challenge the US-led world order, although China remains cautious about committing to a specific strategy regarding the Ukraine war. The meeting reflects a deepening alliance amid growing geopolitical tensions.

During their meetings, Putin expressed Russia’s willingness to collaborate with China and other global south countries to promote a multipolar world order. Xi reiterated the importance of steering global governance in the right direction. Analysts suggest that both leaders want to present their partnership as a positive force in the global system, striving for a more equitable and inclusive economic and political environment.

In addition to their criticisms of the US and NATO, Xi and Putin emphasized the need for a sustainable security system in Eurasia based on equal and indivisible security. This stance reflects their view of Washington and NATO’s expanding military presence in Asia as a zero-sum game. According to Mathieu Duchatel, director of international studies at the French policy group Institut Montaigne, Xi and Putin aim to undermine Washington’s alliance networks in Asia.

As Switzerland prepares to host a peace summit dedicated to the Ukraine war, Xi and Putin exchanged views on the ongoing conflict. They agreed that the war should be resolved through a political settlement. Xi emphasized the importance of establishing a new, balanced, effective, and sustainable security architecture. He suggested that an international peace conference, recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, could be a step towards resolving the conflict.

Putin appreciated China’s objective and balanced stance on the Ukraine issue and reiterated Russia’s commitment to political negotiations. However, analysts like Philipp Ivanov remain skeptical about China’s concrete efforts to resolve the war, noting that China’s peace plan is more diplomatic than substantive.

The meeting between Xi and Putin follows Xi’s five-day trip to Europe, where some analysts believe Beijing sought to exploit disunity within the European Union. Despite repeated warnings from the United States about the consequences of supporting Russia’s war efforts, Beijing seems confident that potential sanctions from the West may not materialize. Ja Ian Chong, a political scientist at the National University of Singapore, suggests that China is testing Europe’s response to its support for Moscow.

Ivanov noted that Putin’s visit to China likely involved discussions on how to circumvent Western sanctions. He anticipates increased transactions and import-export activities through third countries, such as those in Central Asia. Despite Western attempts to pressure China, analysts believe Beijing will continue to uphold its partnership with Moscow, with no significant reduction in Russia’s access to Chinese dual-use technology.

Overall, the strategic partnership between China and Russia appears to be on an upward trajectory, with both countries committed to countering US influence and creating a multipolar world order.

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