What does Xi’s visit to Russia mean for the world? There has been much discussion in the Western media about this issue, but what does Xi’s visit to Russia mean for Ukraine and Taiwan? There is less discussion of correctly interpreting its intent, so this article attempts to discuss the intentions of China’s “Peace Strategy” ,what the visit means for the Ukrainian battlefield and, possibly, the next one—Taiwan.
Although the United States is eager to characterize this visit as China’s “choosing sides” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and favoring Russia, and highly doubts China’s role as a mediator in this conflict, is it only the Global South countries that want to end this war? Does Europe really want to prolong the conflict? If China is excluded, which other country is suitable as a mediator? How long can the US support Ukraine? How should the war end? Will there be another war in Taiwan after the war is over?
Xi said “complex problems have no simple solutions”, but all of the above issues require concise analysis. Taiwan, as a potential hotspot for the next war, may provide a different perspective.
China’s “Peace Strategy”
First of all, the most important message Xi wants to convey in his visit to Russia is that “war is unsustainable”. In Western public opinion, many hawks still insist that Ukraine’s victory can be expected, while China chooses to stand on the side of peace. From a strategic perspective, Beijing intends to offset the hawkish narrative in the West, especially the Neocons in the United States .
There must be a major power in the world standing up to call for peace and offset the warlike narrative. Therefore, Xi’s diplomatic visit can be seen as a crucial step in China’s “peaceful strategy.”
Summarize the strategy with the logic of dualism, simply put, if peace is achieved, China wins, and if the war continues, China still wins, because ccording to the analysis of many Western observers, China is the big winner in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Beijing not only eliminated the threat from the north and gained cheap energy and a market of 1.4 billion people but also gained a steadfast friend in dismantling the the world of unipolar hegemony.
If peace is reached, China’s international status will rise rapidly. If the war continues, this conflict is the best quagmire to exhaust the West, because according to a report by the US think tank CSIS (Note 1), the US has exhausted its weapons to support Ukraine Inventories, especially those “asymmetric warfare” military items. As a result, the delivery of many weapons promised to Taiwan by the United States has been delayed, the US house of Representatives members claiming to hold hearings in Taiwan to investigate the reasons.
Europe’s military production capacity is not as strong as that of the United States. Prolonging the conflict means an unbearable continuous consumption, and damage the economic development of the countries involved. On the other hand, China can stay out of the conflict and focus on restoring its economy. In other words, tthe West will be exhausted sooner or later, and Europe will be more eager than the United States to end the war, forcing Washington to propose a peace plan. And when it comes to post-war reconstruction, China is indispensable.
Of course, China may also lose, but the condition for that to happen is Russia’s defeat or Putin’s overthrow and Ukraine’s victory. However, this probability is very low. Even if there is a 1% chance, China will do its utmost to completely rule out the outcome of Russia’s collapse. On the other hand, Ukraine will not collapse because the West cannot afford this outcome. causing the war to remain at a stalemate, and both peace and war in Ukraine are beneficial to China.
Peace, China wins, war, China wins. This is Beijing’s “peace strategy”.
India cannot complete truce negotiations alone
Secondly, as a party involved, the United States cannot allow China to be the main mediator but also unwilling to bear the image of a warmonger. Therefore, the United States may first try to expand the war to seek a worthy victory to increase their bargaining chips, and then seek mediation from a third party outside of China.
Regarding the suitable mediator, some observers suggest (note 2) that besides China, there is also India, a country with enough weight and acceptable to both Russia and Ukraine. The advantage of the latter is that it is also acceptable to the United States. India, which will host the G20 summit in September this year, could take advantage of this opportunity to promote peace talks.
Indeed, India stands in the middle between the West and Russia — Although, the fact that India does not want to stand against Russia frustrates the West — but the qualification of a mediator is not only based on the diplomatic position, but also whether it can undertake the heavy task of rebuilding Ukraine after the war. In this regard, China has a strong ability to export infrastructure, which India cannot provide.
In other words, the key to mediation lies in the reconstruction commitments of the mediator, and can the West bear the huge reconstruction funds alone? The United States may not be willing to do so, and the EU may not be able to afford it. Evidence is that even if Russia does not object, the EU has not allowed Ukraine to join because it is a heavy financial burden. Therefore, it is unrealistic to completely exclude China from the mediator team.
Beijing is emerging as a new heavyweight in providing emergency funds to debt-ridden countries, catching up to the I.M.F. as a lender of last resort.(Note 3), The New York Times has already noticed this fact, and it is believed that indebted countries and leaders of major countries have also noticed it. Of course, Zelensky certainly cannot ignore it.
From now until September, the greater the damage on the Ukrainian battlefield, the more prominent the importance of China becomes. After all, China is not the exhausted party, and the reconstruction blueprint that can benefit both Russia and Ukraine is probably only in China’s hands, not India’s.
India is suitable for facilitating negotiations, while China is suitable for cleaning up the mess. This is probably more in line with reality, and such an arrangement would still be seen as a victory for China’s “peace strategy”.
Nuclear war is unacceptable
Thirdly, how will the war end? The West may not have a clear idea, which led China to propose a peace initiative at this moment, guiding the conflict towards a controllable direction and offering Europe another option beyond Russia’s defeat in the war. This is why the United States is eager to argue that China’s initiative is advantageous to Russia’s illegal conquest (Note 4), as it fears its exhausted allies may waver.
The United States’ rejection of China’s peace proposal may fuel its eagerness for victory on the battlefield, potentially escalating the war quickly, such as a serious nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia , forcing Russia to launch a nuclear attack and so on. The UK’s supply of the Uranium-Based Ammunition to Ukraine is a highly dangerous move, suspected to be aimed at provoking Russia’s nuclear retaliation.
China know well that if the war slides into any level of nuclear warfare, the world situation will be out of control. Peaceful appeals are easily overshadowed by fear and hatred, so China has drawn a red line on this issue. Do we still need to discuss the outcome of a global war if nuclear warfare spreads?
It can be predicted that in the future, any Western leader who visits China and discusses the Ukrainian peace plan will be asked by China to jointly oppose nuclear war — no matter what kind of nuclear war it is — European countries must recognize that if nuclear war cannot be a red line and a bottom line, any desire for peace lacks a foundation.
Nuclear war may be another scenario that leads to “China’s loses” in Ukraine war, but who is the winner?
A decent exit will be the focus of discussion?
Fourthly, it is impossible for the West to expect Russia to withdraw its troops and restore Ukraine’s pre-war territories as a condition for peace talks, which is unacceptable for both Russia and China. This is because such a condition would encourage deliberate provocations by NATO and the United States, legitimizing NATO’s eastward expansion and paving the way for its expansion into East Asia.
The consensus between the Chinese and Russian leaders is that no country can sacrifice the security of other countries in order to seek its own absolute security. Xi Jinping has been emphasizing this concept since 2014 and once quoted a Kazakh proverb: “blowing out someone else’s lamp will burn one’s own beard.” For Beijing, the conflict between Russia and the West is the result of ignoring this warning.
Both parties involved in the conflict need to take a step back in order to facilitate peace talks. The only issue now is that the United States is unwilling to compromise. The main reason for the US’s unwillingness to compromise is that there is not yet sufficient anti-war sentiment within the country.
However, the current composition of the House of Representatives is mostly Republican, and Jacksonianism is gradually rising within the Republican Party. Jacksonianism’s foreign policy attitude tends towards non-interventionism, unwilling to invest too many resources in foreign affairs. Trump is considered a representative figure of Jacksonianism and is currently rallying supporters with anti-war propaganda, while also seeking nomination as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.
It is currently unknown whether the House of Representatives will still be willing to write a check for aid to Ukraine this year, or if the amount of the check will be reduced. However, it is reasonable to speculate that US aid to Ukraine will be unsustainable sooner or later, possibly happening this year, if the situation on the Ukrainian battlefield remains deadlocked.
According to the RAND Corporation’s senior advisor’s estimation of the outcome of the war (note 5), the overall situation is unfavorable to the United States, and the war is likely to escalate. In other words, the only way for the United States to increase its bargaining chips in peace talks is to achieve significant victories on the battlefield. Otherwise, both allies and the Republican Party will seek a decent exit. And if it ends up like Afghanistan, the Biden administration will lose big and Beijing will win big.
Some Western observer who are hostile to China believe that the “peace initiative” proposed by China means “China wins.” Yes, this argument is not wrong. But what is puzzling is that if the West considers China its main enemy, why does it continue to distract itself with Russia? If the goal is to confront China, why continue to drain its resources on the Ukrainian battlefield?
Taiwan under Beijing’s Peace Strategy
Fifth, if the United States faces an embarrassing conclusion in Ukraine, will it shift its focus to ignite the next war in the Middle East or Taiwan? This is an observation angle that anti-war activists in Taiwan are particularly concerned about.
There are various signs that Beijing’s current attitude towards Taiwan has softened, From this we can see that China’s “peace strategy” clearly includes a solution to the Taiwan issue. Personally, I believe that during Xi’s third term, there will be an acceleration in proposing various peaceful solutions to seek reunification. If all peace appeals are not responded to positively, Beijing will have reason to enter a more intense phase.
Some American scholars have noticed (note 6) that the “China’s invasion of Taiwan” warning is a self-fulfilling prophecy, “Such fears appear to be driven more by Washington’s assessments of its own military vulnerabilities than by Beijing’s risk-reward calculus”,she said, The fact is that “Fears that China will soon invade Taiwan are overblow”.
The scholar is apparently more familiar with Chinese history and is also aware of America’s thinking traps or the habit of deliberately creating smog. She rationally argues that “Historically, Chinese leaders have not started wars to divert attention from domestic challenges, and they continue to favor using measures short of conflict to achieve their objectives”.
In fact, if we only consider the shift of attention from internal challenges and external risks, the best time to launch an invasion is Now, as there are indeed many pressures within China, and the US and Europe are stuck in the quagmire of Ukraine. However, instead of doing so, China has slowed down and conservatively implemented the necessary peaceful steps in the reunification process.
It should be emphasized that it does not mean that Beijing is lax in its war preparations. On the contrary, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has demonstrated an active state of readiness to respond to any possible “cross-border foul” moves by the United States. This highlights the importance of handling the Taiwan issue through a peace strategy, as Beijing does not want to be the party that initiates a war. However, but if it is forced to fight back, it will inevitably achieve its goal quickly.
What China is doing now is preparing for a rapid achievement in the future. Peaceful reunification is the best option, but it is also the most difficult path. For Beijing, Putin was “forced to fight back,” but not well prepared, which led to a stalemate in the war. In other words, peace is a desire and a strategy. It can ensure that China dispatches troops with a just cause and can also ensure that you have enough time to prepare yourself.
Peace, china wins , War, china wins
A new international order needs sufficient idealism to appeal to the world, and this idea is to solve the major problems at present.
The reason why China uses the “Peace vs War” narrative to hedge against the West’s “Democracy vs Authoritarian” narrative , simply put, “Global South” have gradually recognized that Western democracy cannot solve its own problems and even creates internal chaos. The internal chaos, coupled with the influence of external wars, exacerbated the chaos.
For many countries, the warlike character of the Neocons within the United States is the source of global chaos. but now the only major country that dares to publicly criticize the warlike nature of the United States is China. In fact, it is the belligerent tendency of the United States that gives China a foothold in its peace strategy and the enthusiasm for solving problems behind the ideal of peace.
China’s choice to issue a peace proposal and publicly criticize the United States as a global source of chaos on the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is of historical significance. It means that China urges all countries to tick the option of “multipolar world”, tick the option of “independent”, and tick the option of “peaceful development.”
At present, when the economic prospects are not good, the more countries that suffer from the negative impact of war, the more inclined it is towards China’s call for peace. The United States will eventually realize that its belligerent character is the best leverage for China’s rise. The past unipolar world is loosening in some regions.
As for Ukrainian , whether the US chooses peace or war, China wins.