Earlier, on March 2, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang, who came to attend the G20 foreign ministerial meeting, that the state of India-China relations is “abnormal”
Beginning his three-day state visit to Moscow on March 20, China’s President Xi Jinping stated that relations with Russia are based on “no-alliance, no-confrontation and not targeting any third party”, even though “in a world of volatility and transformation, China will continue to work with Russia to safeguard the international system”. The joint statement issued after talks stated that bilateral relations have “reached the highest level in history”. President Vladimir Putin and President Xi have met 40 times so far.
Apart from the expected third term for President Xi Jinping and the installation of his protégé Li Qiang as Premier of the State Council, the ongoing ‘two sessions’ signals an intensification of China’s “decoupling” process with the United States, the strengthening of the Communist Party’s domination of the State, especially its finance and S&T establishments, and a boost to China’s armed forces with a rising defense allocation despite a slowing economy.
The sudden vanishing of Bao Fan, the head of China Renaissance Holdings, whose clients include ride-hailing Didi Chuxing and food-delivery app Meituan, has once again stirred the hornet’s nest in China. While such disappearances are not strange in authoritarian China, the frequency of such incidents at a time when President Xi Jinping is tightening political control, amidst China’s economic troubles, is revealing.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its second year and the path to ending the war remains uncertain, China is increasingly feeling constrained by and conflicted with its national interests and strategic goals, the exaggerated limitless partnership with Russia, and its overdependence on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) and G-7 countries for its economic and technological rise.
The Taliban has promised not to allow terrorist attacks on others from Afghan soil, but it is unable to keep its word. Last month’s attack on Chinese nationals at a hotel in Kabul has rattled Beijing. For it had hoped to overcome the “graveyard of empires” and reap the benefits of its resources as well as fill the geopolitical vacuum in Afghanistan.