Below is a textual version, a kind of transcript, of a recent ~40min program in which Russian Sinologist and publicist Nikolai Vavilov analyzed Sino-Russian relations and, in particular, the internal Chinese situation.
English translation, added links, italics, emphasis, additions in square brackets by ALAFF.
It would seem that in more than six years after the return of Crimea [to the Russian Federation], China’s position was quite clear and there was no need to talk about any real military cooperation [with the Russian Federation] or any real close integration. The Chinese took a neutral position.
Already a month before the most important political event in China — the session of the parliament of the National People’s Congress — a member of the government, a member of the State Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said in a conversation with his colleague S. Lavrov that he hoped that in 2021 during the next prolongation of the agreement on friendship, good-neighborliness and cooperation between China and the Russian Federation — its prolongation is scheduled for May 2021 — it will not only be extended in its previous version, but (attention, direct quote) «will be filled with epoch-making content«.
I.e. it was about something radically different from the current standard conditions of cooperation in the economic, humanitarian and other spheres. In fact, the point was that the Chinese side is actively forcing the creation of some kind of either defensive (against third countries) or a real military alliance with the Russian Federation with deeper integration in a number of areas.
It sounded like a bolt from the blue, because all the years, even when Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, integration really deepened, commodity circulation reached and exceeded $100 billion, but at the same time the parties refrained from political aspects of interaction, although they held largely the same positions on various issues in the UN Security Council.
What happened? Why did China suddenly start talking about the possibility of a military alliance [with the Russian Federation], albeit in the language of hints? Why, a few months earlier, the head of the Russian Federation announced that the countries had reached such a level — and this is a very subtle wording — that, in principle, they already exceed the level of interaction characteristic of a military alliance, but (quote) «interaction has no limits«.
I.e. the Russian side, too, indirectly, but responded positively to the possibility of concluding a military alliance [with China]. Who is this alliance against, what does it give, is it beneficial to Russia? Before answering these questions, we should add that during two sessions — the session of the legislative advisory CPPCC and the parliament of China’s NPC -, which ended just a week ago, the same minister made a number of completely unprecedented statements on the sidelines in communication with the press.
First, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Russia and China are each other’s pillars. Moreover, Wang Yi said that the two countries must jointly confront the orange revolutions and defend each other’s political sovereignty and security.
If we were talking about Russia, where phenomena close to the orange revolution are constantly on the agenda, do not leave the media agenda, this would be obvious. But if we are talking about the PRC, then what kind of orange revolution inside China can we talk about? Does anyone question China’s political sovereignty? Is China’s political system questioned, or is China’s security questioned?
For the subscribers of my telegram channel and the viewers of my YouTube channel, it is no secret that an orange revolution was being prepared in China in 2020, that the [issue of] coronavirus was politicized [by the opposition], that the pro-American Komsomol group — specific regional leaders were named — held a series of lockdowns, i.e. carried out significantly redundant measures to counter the spread of the virus. It was all obvious. But now Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi himself says that there is a threat of an orange revolution in China, and Russia must support China in defending its political sovereignty.
What did Wang Yi say? Translating into Russian, Wang Yi said that the military-political leadership of Xi Jinping was threatened with liquidation. Liquidation through the orange revolution, and Xi Jinping intends to carry out such measures that will cause, to put it mildly, an ambiguous reaction in the world community. And in response to these measures, to the attempt of the Xi Jinping regime to defend itself, its military-political leadership over the party, army and country, only the position of the Russian Federation can help.
This is what Wang Yi is talking about, and this is an unprecedented statement that the Chinese side has never made before. I emphasize, never before. But now the situation around China, around Sino-American relations has reached such a radical tension that Wang Yi openly makes statements of such a nature that actualize a problem that was previously available only to researchers, but now this discourse about a possible change of the regime in China, which is well known to us — the problem was revealed in the struggle of the [pro-American] Komsomol and the pro-army group of Xi Jinping — went beyond the closed internal political discussion in China.
The issue of the struggle between the two groups — [the Xi Jinping sovereign group and] the pro-American Komsomol group, which is headed by a number of leaders, leaders of the All-China Union of Communist Youth, in particular, Premier Li Keqiang, a number of vice-prime ministers of the PRC State Council, other personalities — has already entered the agenda. This has never happened before, and this is a clear confirmation of what we have discussed, calculated analytically and described in this book.
But Wang Yi’s words did not end a series of unprecedented statements, they did not become the last. Immediately after that, the Chinese Ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, a great friend of Russia, a connoisseur of the Russian language, who makes every effort to bring the positions of the two countries closer together, first announced that Russia and China would jointly participate in the [project] of the lunar station — an unprecedented statement. He [also] announced that Russia and China will jointly create a vaccine — this is the second unprecedented statement. In principle, the world does not know such an unprecedented cooperation between the two states, including in vaccination. This speaks not only of scientific and technical, but also of political, humanitarian cooperation, when the Russian high performance of Sputnik V and Chinese production capacities, lobbying capacities find a synergistic effect.
Moreover, Ambassador Zhang Hanhui announced that Russia and China — attention — will develop a common position towards the United States. This has never happened before in Russian-Chinese relations, except for the position of the negotiating process in the UN Security Council. Now the bilateral [Russian-Chinese] bloc is exerting such colossal influence and demonstrating such colossal cohesion. This has not happened before, especially considering that the years, decades of Russian-Chinese relations were darkened and entrenched in the mass consciousness of Russia, and by the way the Chinese too, by the events on Damansky Island — break of friendship, and, in fact, China’s withdrawal to the American camp under anti-Soviet Deng Xiaoping, with the tacit support of anti-Soviet Mao Zedong. These events, anti-Chinese inertia were overcome in the minds of Russians, and [as a result, it became possible that] such bilateral statements [of co-operation] were made.
With all this, the CSTO leadership — a military alliance headed by Russia, a kind of diminished analogue of the Warsaw Pact — made a very interesting statement, coinciding in time with Wang Yi’s statement about the epoch-making content of the new treaty between China and Russia. The head of the CSTO Zas made a statement that the CSTO is considering [the possibility of admitting] new members of the organization.
What is it about? Which of the neighbors of Russia or the CSTO countries can join this organization? Who needs the protection of Russia? Everyone who wanted to receive this protection has already received it — Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, other wavering countries have not joined the CSTO, or are NATO countries. If this is not China, then it could be Iran. But most likely it was about China. Means China will enter under the umbrella of Russian defense, and this, just like in the 50s, will save China from possible direct US aggression, though it will not at all save it from a hybrid confrontation with US allies. Nevertheless, this guarantees the security of the PRC in the event of its unilateral exclusion from the UN Security Council (why this can happen we will discuss below).
In addition to the fact that the CSTO started talking about new members, unexpectedly, after 6 years, contrary to the popular belief that China will not change its position on Crimea, an expanded delegation of Chinese businessmen, headed by the head of the Beijing Import and Export Company — it is a state organization that is a member of the Beijing Chamber of Commerce -, unexpectedly arrives in Crimea, not behind the scenes, as the Chinese did before — they were already quite actively developing relations with Crimea without active aficion -, but officially. The head [of the Chinese delegation] gives an interview to TASS, where he says that the Crimean authorities should build a dialogue with the Beijing authorities.
I.e. it is about the fact that China has declared to the whole world that it is ready to begin an active phase of the recognition of Crimea [Russian territory], first through the activation of open public humanitarian contacts, open public business contacts, including by working with companies registered on the territory of Crimea, carrying out export of Crimean products to China, primarily agricultural products, but not only, openly sending Chinese tourists to Crimea. This means that China has launched a campaign to legalize its position and announced to the whole world that it is ready to carry out this campaign. Though, slow, gradual legalization, more likely than unambiguous. But [still] the recognition of Crimea as part of the Russian Federation, despite the position of not just Ukraine — Ukraine in this case does not bother anyone — but the position of the international community.
How to interpret all these facts? Why did China suddenly start this campaign related to Crimea, its recognition, moreover, against the background of unprecedented statements about a Sino-Russian alliance? We will talk about this now.
China and Russia are very different states — different civilizations, different ethnic groups, different languages, different cultures, different geopolitics. But one powerful factor has rallied Russia and China, for the first time by the way, and this factor is the mutual collective pressure of the West on our countries in order to destroy the political regime and subjugate Russia and China. This factor is very strong and allows the two countries to overcome cultural and other very deep differences.
In 2012, Xi Jinping came to power in China, this coincided with the active position of the Russian Federation, Russia felt the opportunity to start [soon] the Crimean operation and organize reunification with Crimea — an unprecedented operation in the history of international law, an unprecedented event in the history of international relations of the last 70-80 years, in fact, a new page in geopolitics. But this page would not have been possible if Xi Jinping had not come to power in 2012. The top leadership of Russia understood that it would not remain in international isolation after this unprecedented act — Xi Jinping, who has his own Crimea (which we will talk about later), will be nearby.
Whatever different commentators say, who do not understand the internal structure of the Chinese government, Xi Jinping is an anti-American politician, a sovereign politician. The specificity of Chinese foreign policy and communications in general is the absence of open denial of anything, but the creation of a different positive agenda. The United States and China, after the leadership of the Komsomol General Secretary Hun Jintao, which lasted 10 years, became the main trading partners for each other. In fact, a huge [unified] state began to be created, a huge economic organism, merged corporations of China and the United States, the US Democratic Party and [the Chinese] Komsomol.
When Xi Jinping came to power, he understood that he was essentially acting in a pro-American establishment, in a pro-American country, and proclaimed a policy of creating an economic belt of the Silk Road. By and large, this is a project that turned, or was supposed to turn, the Chinese economic ship from dependence on American markets towards the creation of alternative markets in the countries of Eurasia, primarily in Europe. It was a battle for Europe with the aim of moving away from the powerful political influence of the United States on the PRC. The first state visits that Xi Jinping made, having received the post of chairman of the PRC, were to Russia. This Silk Road project demonstrates de facto China’s departure from the concept of state-level support for Sino-US relations.
The apogee of the Sino-American contradictions was the end of 2018, when Sino-US trade immediately fell by 15%. On one side, President Trump acted — also an isolationist, a representative of sovereign forces, anti-globalization forces. On the other side, Xi Jinping, in turn, «helped» him to destroy this economic union of the two states. Xi Jinping’s actions were clearly related to the fact that relations with the Russian Federation were simultaneously strengthened.
People who do not know the internal politics of China often tell us that Biden is oriented towards an alliance with Xi Jinping, and some crazy conspiracy theorists even say that Xi Jinping himself arranged COVID-19 in order to remove Trump and bring Biden to power in the United States. I.e., in fact, he staged a crossbow, brought down the Chinese economy, flooded it with money to bring Biden to power. Unfortunately, among such commentators there are people like Oleg Deripaska, but he is not a Sinologist, he is a man who has lost his company. He collaborated with the [Chinese] Shenhua Company, whose management was arrested under Xi Jinping.
In reality, Xi Jinping never had anything to do with the lockdown [in China], with the problems that arose due to the fault of his political opponents. As a result of these lockdowns, he completely removed the leadership of Hubei province, Wuhan city and all those who were related to Hubei province and the Komsomol throughout 2020.
The claims that Biden is betting on Xi Jinping are refuted by reality itself. It is difficult to imagine that Xi Jinping, having such a close relationship with Biden, bringing him to power with the aim of improving Sino-American relations, was the last of the world leaders to congratulate him on his assumption of the presidency of the United States. Let me remind you that Xi Jinping called Biden on the eve of the Chinese New Year, i.e. a month and a half after Biden’s candidacy was recognized by the entire world community as the winner in the elections. Xi Jinping was the last of the world leaders, even later than Vladimir Putin, to congratulate Biden. It is impossible to say that Biden is a supporter of Xi Jinping, while calling him a thug and accusing him of the Uighur genocide and other sins.
Who are the supporters of Americans among the Chinese? This is a hundred-year history of the relationship between the US Democratic Party and [the Chinese] Komsomol, the pro-American position of the Komsomol. As soon as the Trump administration transferred power to Biden, China’s trade minister was replaced — the pro-Russian [minister] Zhong Shan was replaced by Wang Wentao, a Komsomol member who headed the Komsomol committee of Shanhai Aerospace University, after that he began to make his career, worked out to the post of governor of Heilongjiang, where he completely collapsed the Russian-Chinese trade, made COVID traffic jams. His candidacy was approved approximately one day after the change of administration in the United States.
Immediately, in December 2020, gas trade between the United States and China increased 12 times, and in January-February, purchases of Chinese goods in the United States increased by 90%. It is obvious that in terms of economic relations, the [Chinese] Komsomol is closely cooperating with the US Democratic Party. By the way, all these purchases increased against the background of the approval by the US Senate of two trillion dollars of additional injections into the American economy, which is the main buyer of Chinese products. Here these connections are obvious, and the fact that Xi Jinping does not cooperate with the Biden administration, that he is under critical pressure from the Biden administration — the statements [by the PRC Foreign Minister] about the orange revolution are connected with this — is obvious. From which we can conclude that China has never been so close to political collapse, and the figure of Xi Jinping was not in such danger as it is now. During the coming exacerbations, it is necessary [for China] to enlist the support of the Russian Federation, which, incidentally, is not the first time in history.
Nevertheless, let’s go back to Crimea and supplement the visit of Chinese entrepreneurs with a statement made recently by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, when it said that the issue of the visit of Chinese entrepreneurs to Crimea should not be politicized.
What does it mean? Of course, everyone thinks in their own way, Ukrainian politicians were sincerely delighted, after all, China is becoming the main buyer of Ukrainian products by the end of 2020 — [Ukraine’s] trade with China is 3 times higher than its trade with Russia, roughly comparable or higher than trade with the EU, China is becoming infinitely important for Ukrainian politicians. They were delighted to see in this statement [of the PRC Foreign Ministry] that this was a simple visit by a Chinese delegation and should not be seen as anything special.
But the people who are watching the statements of the PRC Foreign Ministry obviously made the conclusion — the PRC Foreign Ministry announced this and said that such a visit really took place. The Chinese Foreign Ministry does not deny such a visit, saying that it was indeed agreed and that there is nothing wrong with it. Moreover, the Chinese Foreign Ministry proposes not to create a stir around the visit of Chinese entrepreneurs to Crimea and says that the process has been launched and should not be politicized. In other words, there is no need to worry about this issue, we (Chinese) will continue actions to recognize Crimea as Russian territory.
I.e. this does not at all refute the statements of the Chinese Foreign Ministry [, as Ukrainians thought], but on the contrary confirms the line of China towards the likelihood (we emphasize this) of the recognition of Crimea as Russian territory. Next, we will discuss why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC needs it.
It is very interesting that the recognition of Crimea may be necessary for China in connection with the very acute situation around Taiwan. Most recently, the head of the Ministry of Transport, Li Xiaopeng, announced that by 2035 China will connect the mainland with Taiwan through a tunnel. What does this mean? The fact that China until 2035 has planned the annexation of Taiwan and declares this openly. Because the tunnel, like the bridge and other types of communications, is not coordinated by the Taiwanese side [with China]. The tunnel to Taiwan, the longest tunnel in the world — about 150 km — is possible only if the Chinese side annexes Taiwan and makes it part of its territory.
Simultaneously, a statement was made by the commander of the US Navy in the Indo-Pacific region that China’s [military] operation against Taiwan could take place in the next 6 years. Technically, China is ready for this, and is ready for a hybrid war, since a significant part of the political establishment of the [Taiwanese] national Kuomintang party is closely cooperating with the PRC. It already holds rallies, so far they are ecological, social in nature, but they are actively held in Taipei. [These are] Large enough rallies that can develop into certain actions of a hybrid nature.
It is in this connection that the visit of Chinese entrepreneurs to Crimea took place. China wants not only to call Russia into its military alliance on equal terms, but also to exchange the recognition of Crimea for the recognition of Taiwan as part of Chinese territory.
If we look at Taiwan’s foreign policy activity, we will see that Taiwan has made colossal efforts to reach the official level of negotiations with Lithuania. Lithuania wants to open a representative office of Taiwan in its territory. Nevertheless, we see that an alliance [between China and Russia] is being organized and may take place on the eve of the possible operation of Xi Jinping in Taiwan, which will inevitably be accompanied by large-scale sanctions from the United States, the entire world community and hybrid war between China and the US allies, because the doctrine of the US Democratic Party involves a reduction in its own military spending and an increase in support for allies — Japan, South Korea, Taiwan itself and others.
By the way, the visit of Secretary of State Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Austin to Japan and South Korea is connected with this (Austin will also go to India later). This creation of an anti-Chinese coalition is taking place [simultaneously] with powerful pressure on China itself; in the near future, the Biden administration may prepare a list of personal sanctions, which should create active pressure on the domestic political situation in the country. And automatically pressure on the Chinese elite to act against the supreme leader.
This is also related to the fact that the leaders of the PRC foreign policy bloc will participate in negotiations with the Americans on March 18. The essence of the situation is that the Biden administration, completely dependent on the electorate who chose Biden in the wake of the coronavirus, cannot go against the aspirations of ordinary Americans. And 70% of ordinary Americans are completely against any interaction with China. I.e. Biden’s populist administration is being held hostage by the American electorate, which is completely pumped up by anti-Chinese propaganda. The Blinken-Austin summit talks [with the Chinese] on March 18 will yield nothing. China and the United States cannot follow the path of detente in the next year or two, because the American population is against detente with China. In any case, the anti-Chinese line of the Biden administration will continue.
This means that Xi Jinping will receive new sanctions, unprecedented pressure at the technological level, will not be able to agree with the Biden administration, and the scenario of the orange revolution, supported by various players and subjects of the Chinese political field, indirectly connected with the Komsomol, the pro-American opposition, is on the agenda. The scenario of pressure on Xi Jinping, pressure on the Chinese economy is also on the agenda.
In this sense, Xi Xinping has only one big trump card — the annexation of Taiwan. And the fact that China’s foreign policy forces make such harsh statements unusual for the Chinese side, are in a hurry to involve Russia in an alliance, suggests that China is in a critical state, that China’s domestic policy is in a very acute phase of confrontation. By the way, this is evidenced by the possible reform of the parliament’s standing committee, which may be given the authority to change vice-prime ministers, i.e. in fact, the Komsomol apparatus of the government may be changed by Xi Jinping in the near future.
All this makes the scenario of such an alliance [between China and the Russian Federation], tacit support of China by Russia possible. Someone may object that our countries have nothing in common, that such an alliance cannot be created, but these objections can be answered by the fact that already in the middle of the XIX century, when powerful opium wars were waged against China, England and France were essentially tried to destroy the Qing empire, helped the Taiping uprising, when the Qing empire was on the verge of annihilation, the support of Russia, namely Count Ignatiev — military, scientific and technical, material support — saved the Chinese Qing dynasty from destruction and the final partition of China by the Anglo-French troops.
China paid dearly for this support. China recognized the territories of the present-day Primorsky Territory, Khabarovsk Territory, Amur Region and other territories for Russia. I.e. for this support, China has shared part of its territory. It was an unprecedented victory for Russian diplomacy, and now we are again on the verge of such decisions — what China is ready to give Russia for this unprecedented support of Xi Jinping. He is a loyal person, even in family relations on the part of his father, loyal to the USSR, to Russia, and this unprecedented victory [of Russia in the return of Crimea] would not have been possible if Xing Jinping had not come to power in 2012.
What’s on the agenda? In fact, the union of the two countries gives very large preferences to the Russian Federation. Russia has already begun to push back American gas, oil, Canadian forests, and in the future also the food industry, agricultural exports. If such an alliance takes place in the near future, then Russia, as in the days of the USSR, will begin to oust its Western counterparts not only from the service sector — we are talking about cinema, animation, this is a serious, huge market -, but also the sphere of high-tech products, where we can with some of our analogs, solutions in the field of chemistry, materials, construction, biotechnology, and so on, seriously squeeze Western models. We are moving towards this.
But the Russian elite is confused by the fact that such an alliance may not be equal. Unfortunately, modern oriental studies do not answer the question of how to be friends with China so as not to become its younger brother. This book provides an answer, a concept — I call it the ecological utilization of Chinese influence — how you can work with China without becoming dependent on it.
Dear friends, thank you very much for your attention.
Nikolai Vavilov, broadcast on Den TV from 24.03.2021. Source.