Imagine posing for a selfie with your “bestie”, Vlad Putin, uploading it globally, and days later he invades Ukraine where you have billions invested. Then he murders tens of thousands and plunges the world into hyper-inflation, food and energy shortages, and a global economic downturn.
That’s exactly what has befallen President Xi Jinping of China this year. Chinese officials maintain that the invasion plans were not disclosed by Putin, but Xi has remained silent publicly about what was said or not said, nor has he criticized his partner’s murder and mayhem.
However, he has been distancing himself from Moscow, and China has not provided a single bullet to Russia’s war machine. Even so, guilt by association has hurt China’s reputation and damage control is in order which is why attempts are underway for a bilateral meeting between Xi and President Job Biden at the G20 meeting on November 15.
If this happens, it would represent a reset by China, will undermine Putin, and placate China’s customers in America and Europe. But if the bilateral isn’t held, Beijing’s current economic problems will worsen.