China’s top foreign policy man, Wang Yi, was at the Munich International Security Conference and spent a week traveling around Europe. Before returning home, he stopped in Moscow, where he presumably met with President Putin. At Munich, Wang Yi announced that he was conferring with Europeans (and then with Russians) on a peace proposal that President Xi Jinping will release sometime around February 24–the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Is this just a public relations move by the Chinese to divert attention away from their continuing support for Russia? That will probably be the conclusion drawn by many, particularly given that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his private meeting with Wang Yi on February 18, warned the Chinese that the US has strong intelligence that the PRC is considering providing lethal aid to Russia in the near future, and that there would be serious consequences if this happens.

It is also the case, according to my sources in Washington, that the Europeans and the United States have been pressuring Xi Jinping to get Putin to halt the military operations and negotiate. I have no idea whether this pressure has reached the point that the Chinese may seriously try to salvage what is left of their international reputation by genuinely pressing for an end to the war. What I do know is that China’s fragile economy, which is vital to Xi Jinping’s power, is still dependent on trade with the United States and Europe. Last year, US-China bilateral trade in goods was $690 billion. Overall trade in goods and services by China with the US and EU combined was $1.6 trillion. Trade between China and Russia for 2022 was $150 billion. Even as the rhetorical war between China and the United States intensified during the Trump presidency and the first two years of the Biden presidency, US-China trade continued to set records, growing every years. Even with the limited cutoff of certain high-tech products, US-China trade, in addition to the US corporate presence in China, is big and growing–and vital to China’s economic stability, and Xi Jinping’s political standing with the Chinese people. When public protests erupted over the Zero COVID lockdowns, Xi changed policy, almost overnight. He is well-aware that he must satisfy the needs of the Chinese people, and that goes well beyond the internal politics of the CPC.

So stay tuned for these events in the coming days.

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  1. Lee Patten says:

    China’s fragile economy…..oh my good god.

  2. Whitewall says:

    China and Russia, a pariah state in league with a pariah state.

    • Bill Roche says:

      China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, N. Korea, Venezuela, are countries where the state rules with out accountability. A well armed citizenry, still today, reminds the state that it is accountable to the citizen. That is what the second amendment is about. It was not about fighting Indians, or protecting your family from criminals. It was about protecting your family from a state that has forgotten it exists to serve the citizen and seeks to deny their liberty. Those who wish to overturn the second amendment are willing or unwilling servants to a totalitarian state; either fascists or foolish.

    • Peter Williams says:

      Pariah states for you, in the minds of 80% of the world, normal states. You seppos don’t understand that you’re a minority. The future belongs to the BRICS and friends.

      • Whitewall says:

        Dream on. If the pariahs appeal to you then have at it.

      • Bill Roche says:

        The Brics and friends are the future? IMHO you have little hope for future mankind. Russia, China, South Africa, India, and Brazil are not the shining light of the future. Their friends, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Pakistan as Sunni Islam hell holes do not offer encouragement. A thousand years ago I read “A Day in the Life …” and then “The Gulag Archipelago”. See what the state does when it does whatever it wants. You find this a hopeful? Repression by the state, subjucation to the state, and no individual future w/i the state is what you champion? I don’t. I always thought I was a repressed conforming, staid person. Who knew? I’m a rebel!

  3. Fred says:

    “…the Europeans and the United States have been pressuring Xi Jinping to get Putin to halt the military operations and negotiate.” Did your sources give any idea what that first step in that negotiation is going to be? The public statements are hardly ground for Russia to agree to stop.

    • Harper says:

      Critical elements to any agreement would have to be Ukraine neutrality, but with security guarantees and military support. US is sending M1 tanks which will not arrive until training is completed–sometime in the second half of the year. Biden Administration has already said that the tanks are part of post-war buildup of Ukrainian defenses to assure no future Russian actions.
      Some freeze in place of control over territory in the east of Ukraine, with a future UN-led referendum on status. EU membership for Ukraine on a fast track. These are elements that have been discussed, and some were included in the written agreement that Ukraine and Russia negotiated in Ankara in March-April 2022, before Ukraine pulled out under pressure from Boris Johnson.

      • Bill Roche says:

        Any peace negotiations must proceed w/Russia’s agreement that Ukraine is a sovereign nation and doesn’t “belong” to Russia. Putin may leave his military in place, and negotiations, accompanied b/a cease fire will begin. How bad is that? It can’t happen. In fact it will never happen. This war is 100% about Russia restoring its stratus as an empire. It is 1914 all over again. Why don’t observers of this war just say what’s obvious? Russia intends to b/c an empire again but needs to be superior to someone in order to be so. It must crush Ukraine. It’s that simple.

  4. TV says:

    ” there would be serious consequences if this happens.”
    Serious consequences from this bunch means no milk with your cookies.
    Wanna bet that Blinken was stuffed in a locker in high school?

    • Peter Williams says:

      An interesting comment. My parents grew up in the Great Depression, we ate rabbit and weeds. My daughters were born in Russia after the 90s where people had to eat weeds. I taught them with great approval from their grandparents to harvest weeds and fungus and wild berries. Most of those European weeds were familiar to me in Australia. For the fungus I relied on centuries of Russian culture. Uncle Anatoli used to say to me regularly , “are you trying to kill us”, the same looking mushrooms that I ate in Australia were deadly. When talk comes about war with Russia, daughter no. one says that they will eat grass, and they will! No-one will conquer the Russian peoples, note the plural. Watch your own propaganda for why Russia will not be conquered. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvsintGi5JA

      • TTG says:

        Peter Williams,

        You are absolutely right. Russia will not be conquered. Russians can endure much greater hardship than what they face now. They can absorb millions of casualties. But the same can be said for Ukraine. They will endure far more than what they have already endured to prevent extermination at the hands of Moscow.

        • Whitewall says:

          It seems the only people to ‘conquer’ Russia all resided in Moscow and had royal blood lines or later as Communist party leaders and now, V. Putin as autocrat. The Russian people have been ruled over and controlled for centuries by their own kind. Why anyone would think of invading Russia to control it is beyond me. Russia can be beaten on the battlefield.

      • Sam says:


        Who has suggested they would like to conquer Russia?

        I think it is the other way around. The Eastern Europeans have been concerned for sometime that the Russian hawks were braying about restoring Greater Russia. The Western Europeans certainly didn’t pay much heed to their concerns. Until the invasion of Ukraine. Now it is a different ballgame as the Eastern Europeans have been vindicated.

  5. Fourth and Long says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a republican for US President. I vaguely remember as a college student sitting in the student union wine cellar/beer hall, alone one early evening, struggling – one hand versus the other – trying very hard to make one hand check the box for George McGovern in 1972. I can’t recall which hand won. I sat there for over 20 minutes, it’s quite possible that I simply deposited the ballot in the trash out of deadlock and frustration. But if Ron DeSantis continues in the vein described in this article in the link below, he has five, six, seven or eight of my votes. Make it 10. (No “that’s what she told me last night,” jokes allowed, sorry). And Mr DeSantis is, under normal circumstances, not my cup of tea in the least bit whatsoever. Joe Biden will be 2 years older in 2025 if he is reelected. His term will be 4 years. Look at Kamala Harris. Do the math. Look again. Recheck your math. Dan Quayle was an intellectual giant, a towering colossus, compared to Ms Harris. And he was an …

    DeSantis downplays Russia threat after Biden visit:

    “The fear of Russia going into NATO countries and all that and steamrolling, you know, that has not even come close to happening,” said the Republican governor of Florida, a possible presidential contender.


    • Al says:

      Russia steps up threats against Republic of Moldova
      Vitalie Calugareanu | Robert Schwartz
      02/04/2023February 4, 2023
      Russia’s foreign minister has warned that Moldova could meet the same fate as Ukraine. He says that the West is stirring up anti-Russian sentiment.

      • Bill Roche says:

        I knew it. Those sneaky Moldovans … all 4MM of them. Putin is right, they are all crypto Nazi’s who are hell bent on conquering and destroying Russia. Not a single Moldovan appreciated the kindness Stalin showed them in the ’30’s. One of the poorest countries in Europe they are determined to attack Russia from the south west and reduce Russia to poverty also. Leading their attack will be the province of Transniestra which is filled with 400M of the most rabid anti-Russian populations who don’t appreciate that Russia has spent millions of rubles to leave a division of infantry in their territory to protect them from the Nazi’s. Well, they don’t scare Russia and Putin has warned them to moderate their tone or they will get a dose of what he has given Ukraine. As soon as Russia has destroyed Ukraine and can put 2 or three divisions of troops into its South West, he will stage them for an invasion of Moldova b/f the Moldovans invade Russia. Crying in anguish right out of 1959’s Putin was heard to lament “why’s everybody always pickin on me?”.

  6. Alastair Crooke makes some very interesting points in


    A few of them:

    The concern … is that
    Biden’s obsessive zeal is turning the Ukraine from a proxy war into an existential issue for the US
    (existential in the sense of the humiliation and reputational damage if the war was lost).
    It is already a Russian existential issue.
    And two nuclear powers in an existential confrontation is bad news.

    Let us be very clear:
    This was not the first time that Biden did something —
    regarded by the US intelligence professionals —
    as wholly reckless:
    Robert Gates, the former Defense Secretary said on Sunday that Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign and security issue over four decades.
    In February 2022,
    he seized Russia’s foreign exchange assets;
    he expelled its banks from SWIFT (the interbank clearing system)
    and imposed on her a tsunami of sanctions.
    The Federal Reserve and the ECB said afterwards they were never consulted,
    and if they had been – would never have consented to the measures.

    Biden claimed his action would ‘reduce the rouble to rubble’;
    he was grievously mistaken.
    Rather, Russia’s resilience has brought the US closer to a financial precipice
    (as dollar demand dries up, and the world shifts eastwards).
    From the perspective of significant financial actors in New York,
    Biden and the Fed now must hurry to rescue a systemically fragile US.

    Mr. Crooke has been mentioned in the past by Colonel Lang:

    As to Crooke’s various assertions, I am merely passing them on.
    I certainly have no inside knowledge on what the insiders are thinking.
    However, I entirely agree with the notion that various actions the U.S. has taken to harm Russia have on fact boomeranged.

    • Sam says:


      I disagree with Mr. Crooke. The war in Ukraine is not existential for either Russia or the US. IMO, this is all hyperbole. Additionally, the probability of any of this escalating to nuclear exchange is remote.

      It could be existential for Greater Russia for the immediate future but certainly not Russia within its current borders. It is definitely not existential for the US. The territorial integrity of the US is not threatened at all by any external force. No US forces are committed in the Russo-Ukraine conflict. All the US government has done is provide arms and financing. That can end if there’s a majority in Congress to do so.

  7. Peresonanongrata says:

    Is this just a public relations move by the Chinese to divert attention away from their continuing support for Russia? That will probably be the conclusion drawn by many, particularly given that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his private meeting with Wang Yi on February 18, warned the Chinese that the US has strong intelligence that the PRC is considering providing lethal aid to Russia in the near future, and that there would be serious consequences if this happens.

    Who anointed the US government the world’s arbiter of right and wrong?

    How ignorant/hypocritical can a person be to threaten China if it has the temerity to support Russia when the nation that person represents has murdered millions of innocents under the blood-stained banner of defending democracy?

    Where was the world (ie Western nations) and it’s self-righteous indignation when the US invaded Vietnam? Iraq? (to name but two immoral/illegal episodes – never you mind centuries of rampant Western colonialism – eg the Raj, Belgian Congo, Algeria, Opium Wars etc that murdered tens of millions more)

    Thats right they were either silent or joined in the unpleasantness. There was no international talk of sanctions against the US or banning US athletes from competing in the Olympics no US persons had their property arbitrarily seized (etal).

    Postface – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is wrong but for the US & other Western nations to have selective memories about their own recent past atrocities and then preach to others as if they are as pure as the driven snow is the height of hypocrisy – especially as they funnel billions of dollars of weapons into Ukraine at the same time.

    What I do know is that China’s fragile economy, which is vital to Xi Jinping’s power, is still dependent on trade with the United States and Europe. Last year, US-China bilateral trade in goods was $690 billion. Overall trade in goods and services by China with the US and EU combined was $1.6 trillion.

    Our economy in the US is just as fragile. The US government has papered over our structural financial deficiencies by running their printing presses 24/7/365 since 2008 – adding over $18 trillion dollars in debt – in order to maintain the illusion of rising standards of living. (You’ve got to hand it to those tax and deficit spend Republicans and Democrats)


    Trade between the US & China is a reciprocal relationship that benefits both parties. If the US government were to cut off our economic nose in spite of our wholly dependent economic face not only would China suffer but so would individual American’s – never mind the abstract beast called the economy.

    • TTG says:


      The USG may not be the world’s arbiter of right and wrong, but it is the arbiter of US interests. We don’t want to see China supplying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with vast quantities of arms and ammunition. We’ll take whatever diplomatic and/or economic measures we deem appropriate to support that interest.

    • Sam says:


      When has the human condition not been hypocritical in the history of humankind?

      The CCP killed many of their own and others too. Just ask the Tibetans and the Uighurs.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Ahaa, there’s that college course on “Western Dominance of World Civilization and Intolerant Fascism”. Usually taught by some 30 year old “professor” who has little experience in the world but much book “larnin” from other anti western intellectuals. The course summary bills it as a revelation of every dirty trick done by the west since 1860. Let me shorten the course … west bad, democracy a lie, capitalism unfair, competition debasing, state control makes life efficient, west does not understand eastern culture, other ideas are valid too … usually offered to sophomores and billed as revelatory expose. Careful, most correspondents to this site have heard all this b/f and some of it is true. Hey, nobody’s perfect; no civilization, and no philosophy. Despite its imperfections, I’ll take the west. Yeah, I’m brainwashed.

  8. English Outsider says:

    Harper – on possible Chinese peace proposals.

    At the Munich Security conference Wang Yi put the cat among the pigeons by stating China was intending to issue a position paper – if I remember the term correctly – on Ukraine. This was taken as meaning China had a peace proposal to put forward. Recent publications do not however suggest that any such plan put forward would be of the sort acceptable to the President Biden.

    This paper outlines a “Westphalian” approach to foreign policy.


    (At least one hopes it’s Westphalian. A massive economic and military power like China encouraging international cooperation in various fields could turn into prescribing it. But I’m prejudiced in this respect. I’ve watched the EU using its still substantial economic clout to enforce “cooperation” on neighbouring countries so wouldn’t want to watch it happening elsewhere. Have to wait and see if China makes the same mistake.)

    The other document is a criticism of American foreign policy since WWII and up to the present day.


    Neither paper is conciliatory in tone and therefore if the Chinese do put forward peace proposals, they might not be proposals the White House will be prepared to consider.

    I believe the Washington neocons are going to have to work at it, if they want to get themselves out of the mess they’ve got into in the Ukraine without losing face. I’m not sure any proposals the Chinese might put forward will do much to help them out of their predicament.

    • English Outsider says:

      (Apologies for the typing error. “President Biden”. Had originally written “the White House” and left the definite article in in error.)

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