When it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, no country stands to benefit more than China. China is not an honest broker and will play no role in the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. Both Russia and China (Putin and Xi Jinping), have benefited from recognizing the failure of Communism, while still holding onto absolute power as autocrats. It’s not a coincidence that Putin and his buddies are some of the richest men on earth. There are many benefits for China in the conflict. Listed are only a few.
First, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is obscuring what’s happening in the South China Sea. China is doing everything it can to consolidate absolute control as it continues to build military bases on artificial islands. The US and allies, consider the South China Sea to be international waters. The Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim ownership of the the islands and sea. Of course other than the US, none of these other countries are capable of standing up to China. The US will need to respond at some point as we can never accept Chinese sovereignty over those waters, since they are considered international. It would be a huge diplomatic failure and only embolden Xi Jinping.
Second, The war in Ukraine has also distracted the US from focusing on Taiwan. China is slowly cracking down on the independence of Taiwan, initiating laws and installing leaders that align with Bejing. Although the US would be more likely to intercede in an attack on Taiwan, with the war in Ukraine growing in intensity, body count increasing and a refugee crisis, It remains to be seen if President Biden will draw a line in the sand. China would like to avoid a conflict with the US and without support from Japan and India, there is probably nothing that would be done in response, except strongly worded statements. China would be a big winner here.
Third, China will never sanction Russia so the country is in a great position to obtain cheap fuel. With sanctions in place, Russia desperately requires the income to fund the war and China is the perfect ally. China’s purchase of unlimited amounts of oil, keeps gas prices relatively low domestically while also helping manufacturing and the average Chinese citizen. This is increasingly important for China, in that with sanctions in place, China can monopolize Russian markets with their goods. Russia is going to need all the products not being provided by the US or allies, so it will look to increase imports from Chinese manufacturers . In exchange, Russia can make up some of it’s loses by increasing sales to China. With 1.3 billion people, there’s an unlimited market available to Russia.
China is an autocracy, Xi Jinping, a dictator. While it’s true that the old guards have westernized their clothing and overall brands, they are still wolves in sheep’s clothing. China stands to gain much from this ongoing conflict in Ukraine and although Xi Jinping is calling for a diplomatic solution, he really has nothing to worry about if the war lingers. In fact he will benefit greatly.