Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of th​e People, Beijing, March 2017
Qilai Shen / Panos Pictures / Redu​x

Russia’s war in Ukraine has produced a strategic predicament for China. On the one hand, the conflict has disrupted billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese trade, heightened tensions in East Asia, and deepened political polarization within China by dividing people into pro- and anti-Russia camps. On the other, China blames the United States for provoking Russia with its support for NATO expansion and worries that Washington will seek to prolong the conflict in Ukraine in order to bog down Russia. Beijing sees little to gain from joining the international chorus condemning Moscow. 

Regardless of what China says or does

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