Russo-China nexus and a multipolar world

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is currently on a six-day visit to Russia and Belarus, during which he is scheduled to interact with top Russian leadership and military Commanders along with attending an important multinational security conference in Moscow. During the second leg of his trip, Li will visit Minsik to meet Belarusian strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, hold meetings with senior military leadership and visit important defence installations there. According to the Chinese authorities, the visit underscores the drive by Russia and China to align their foreign policies in a bid to compete with the West-led unipolar liberal democratic order through multinational cooperation that guarantees a multipolar or at least a bipolar world in the future.

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is visiting Russia and Belarus in a show of support as the West attempts to isolate two allies over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China-Russia ties had grown rapidly over the past years, whereas, Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Western animosity toward Beijing further intensified their quest for mutual augmentation and cemented strategic economic and security bonds between them. There had been frequent high-level contacts and bilateral exchanges between Moscow and Beijing and both countries made concerted efforts to expand their cooperation in multiple domains, particularly in trade and investment, science and technology, defence and security, space and cyberspace etc. At the same time, both neighbours enhanced their political cooperation at the global level by backing each other viewpoints at the global forums, particularly the United Nations, the IAEA, G7, G20 and others to collectively defend their core interests and offer a unified resistance against the Western bloc.

Over the past year and a half, Russia and China have projected a unified response to the Western bloc through strengthening their military partnership, joint patrols and combined military drills in the contested Indo-Pacific region and South China Sea. Both neighbours are also leading an ongoing de-dollarization campaign which aims at ending the dollar monopoly in global trade by replacing the greenback with local currencies that will not only liberate their trade with other nations but will also be a great blow to the American dollar when it gets full implementation in the future.

The recent Moscow-sponsored global meet-up of over a hundred nations is another attempt of the Russo-China bloc to create a new consortium of like-minded nations and developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America to look beyond the Western market to counter Western dominance in the global economy. Although BRICS nations have a long-held quest to replace the US dollar with an alternative currency or use local notes for bilateral trade, however certain regulatory complications and legal constraints took too longer to realise that dream. The ongoing trade war and the tussle between major powers is a two-edge weapon and counterproductive policy that equally affects its originator along with the targeted nation. Today, the West is the biggest importer of Chinese products and Western consumers have a higher per capita income as compared to their Russian and Chinese contenders. On the other hand, China has great stacks in the US and European economies and its cheap manpower and cost-effective products have no alternatives so far.

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Kiyv, Beijing is taking advantage of Moscow’s isolation and has brought an uptick in its efforts to ally with nations that it leads against Western rivals. China tactfully uses Russian card, while Moscow laid all its eggs in China’s basket. Beijing seems to be in a little hurry and is spreading its wings a little too big. Although China groomed marvellously in the fields of manufacturing and infrastructure over the past decades, but it could not assimilate civic liberties such as the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and religion in its society which became a severe impediment for Beijing at the global level. Currently, a tug-of-war is going on between the West and the Russo-China bloc, however the champion would be decided by the future events and the time to come.