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Xi’s Third Term Ushers in an Era of Closer Relations With Russia, Smart Competition With US

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meetingInternationalIndiaAfricaXi Jinping has secured a third term as China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission. What does the future have in store for the People’s Republic as Sino-American confrontation gains momentum?”I would not say that this is an epoch-making event, even though this event is important, of course,” Andrey Vinogradov, head of the Center for Political Studies and Forecasts, the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Sputnik. “The fact is that the term limit for the post of chairman of the PRC and other senior state officials was enshrined for the first time in the [Chinese] constitution of 1982, and this is not the entire period [of existence] of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”Vinogradov underscored that five years ago, it was clear that the world had entered into a period of dramatic changes, adding that this became the trigger for the PRC’s decision to remove restrictions on the third term in 2018. The 2018 constitutional amendment “was precisely aimed at ensuring the stability of China’s development in this difficult period,” according to him.

“Now we see that this conclusion has been fully confirmed," continued Vinogradov. "In this situation, it is very important to ensure internal stability and stability in the international arena. I believe that in the Chinese political system, the most important and most effective way to ensure stability is to keep the current leadership, giving him the opportunity to go through all those difficult moments both in the domestic development and the international development."

Chinese President Xi Jinping was unanimously reelected for a historic third presidential term on March 10 due to the Chinese legislature’s move abolishing presidential term limits in 2018. Xi was first elected to the top job in March 2013, and reelected for a second five-year term in 2018. Since he took the reins of power in 2013, the PRC has made great strides, doubling GDP from $8.53 trillion to $17.73 trillion. However, as China has grown stronger, the US has increasingly been seeing it as a rival and a challenge – a view that has manifested itself in the US’ latest military doctrine.Despite still being economically intertwined, the US and China have found themselves at odds over numerous issues, with Washington openly provoking Beijing by stepping up military aid to Taiwan and meddling in other domestic affairs of the PRC, including Hong Kong, Xinxiang, and the South China Sea. The Biden administration has also stepped up pressure on China’s hi-tech industry by seeking to sever the Chinese from cutting-edge semiconductor technologies.AsiaChina’s Xi Jinping Unanimously Reelected for Historic Third Presidential Term03:05 GMT

Does China See the US as an Imminent Military Threat?

Biden’s latest defense budget envisages scaled-up spending in the Asia-Pacific region. Still, some experts do not believe that the US is about to exert military pressure on the PRC.

"Probably, the overwhelming pressure politically. I don't think militarily, I don't see Biden as a strong president, he'll have a stronger military presence in Asia-Pacific, but I don't foresee that he is trying to instigate a war against China," Thomas W. Pauken II, author of US vs China: From Trade War to Reciprocal Deal, consultant on Asia-Pacific affairs, and geopolitical commentator, told Sputnik.

“So, most of the containment against China will be economically, diplomatically and politically. But at the same time, this could be a much worse year for relations between both countries, because it seems as if both sides are right now at a standstill and not really showing any sense of compromise or willingness to show any concessions,” Pauken continued.AnalysisWhy Bloated US Military Spending Can’t Ensure Its Dominance Over Russia, China16:43 GMTAccording to the Beijing-based expert, the Chinese aren’t nervous about Biden’s military prowess, even though they obviously oppose Washington’s military expansion in the Asia Pacific. Still, judging from the US handling of the Ukraine crisis, Washington is not ready for a large-scale conventional conflict:”If you really look closely at, for example, weapons and ammunition stockpiles that the Pentagon has access to and its ability for the US defense manufacturers to produce a lot more weapons and ammunition, that’s actually not very easy to do. They have sent a lot of these weapons and stockpiles to Ukraine. And from what I’m hearing, they’re starting to run out of those stockpiles. It’s hard for them to catch up,” Pauken noted.Given this, it’s unlikely that Beijing will resort to a military response to Washington’s provocations anytime soon, according to the expert. As of yet, the Biden administration’s military adventurism is backfiring on them, he remarked, referring to the controversy surrounding the US president’s multi-billion aid to Kiev.”Just look at the proxy war in Ukraine and how they sent over 100 billion US dollars to Ukraine,” the Beijing-based commentator continued. “And they won’t even audit the funds that went in there because they’re afraid people will find out where the money went to. At the same time, a lot of these weapons are being sent to Ukraine. So what I’m getting at is that the US and the West are being so aggressive, but they’re not being smart aggressive. That being said, the Chinese don’t really have to do anything in return. There is an old saying I’ve heard from a Chinese person, it says ‘when your enemy is acting foolish, say nothing to stop him.'”AnalysisHow Russo-Chinese Strategic Cooperation May Bring US Forever Wars to End22 February, 17:29 GMT

US-China Tech Competition: Biden Shot Himself in Foot

When it comes to the US-China technological competition, Pauken believes that it is almost impossible to nip the PRC’s development in the bud. “Obviously, they have to keep innovating regardless of whether the West tries to stop them or not,” he pointed out.In his December 2022 interview with Sputnik, Pauken drew attention to the fact that the Chinese and US industries have long been intertwined, with Beijing exercising huge leverage over technology supply chains given its rare earth reserves. Indeed, the PRC not only boasts one of the largest mineral reserves, but it also produces around 85% of the world’s rare earths.”We’re going to see probably more localization of the science and high-tech sector where they rely more on Chinese technologies and probably developing more R&D hubs inside China to create more innovations,” the Asia-Pacific affairs consultant said. “We could see a scenario in play where the Chinese will enforce their patents in a much stronger way, and this could actually end up having a very deep impact on science and technology across the globe.”Meanwhile, Beijing is bracing itself for a further deterioration of Sino-American relations, according to the expert. Having reelected Xi Jinping, the Chinese are fixing to respond to these developments, he noted.”It seems that there is – reforms – but in the sense of a more centralized system of power. So, it seems as if China is preparing for much worse relations with the US and probably with many other Western nations,” Pauken remarked.At the same time, Beijing is strengthening ties with Russia, its BRICS peers, and the Global South. In February 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed “new frontiers” in ties with Beijing during the visit of China’s top diplomat Wang Yi to Moscow and signaled that he expects Xi Jinping to come to Russia soon. The Russian president’s statement prompted the US State Department’s irritation over what it called a greater alignment between China and Russia.


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