The countries’ friendship knows “no boundaries,” they declared.
Given that the leaders met just weeks before the invasion, it would be understandable to conclude that China should have been more aware of the Kremlin’s plans. But growing evidence suggests that the echo chamber of China’s foreign policy has misled not only the country’s internet users, but its own officials as well.
My colleague Edward Wong reported that senior US officials met with their Chinese counterparts over a three-month period and shared intelligence detailing the Russian troop build-up around Ukraine. The Americans asked the Chinese officials to intervene with the Russians and tell them not to invade.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the global economy
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An increasing concern. Russia’s attack on Ukraine could cause staggering increases in energy and food prices and deter investors. The economic damage from supply disruptions and economic sanctions would be severe in some countries and industries and undetected in others.
The cost of energy. Oil prices are already the highest since 2014 and have risen as the conflict escalated. Russia is the third largest oil producer, supplying about one in every ten barrels consumed by the global economy.
gas supplies. Europe gets almost 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia and will probably have to deal with higher heating costs. Natural gas reserves are running out and European leaders have accused Russian President Vladimir V. Putin of cutting supplies to gain a political advantage.
Deficiencies in essential metals. The price of palladium, which is used in car and cell phone exhaust systems, has surged amid fears that Russia, the world’s largest exporter of the metal, could be cut off from global markets. The price of nickel, another important Russian export, has also risen.
Financial turmoil. Global banks are bracing for the fallout from sanctions designed to limit Russia’s access to foreign capital and limit its ability to process payments in dollars, euros and other currencies critical to trade. Banks are also on the lookout for retaliatory cyber attacks by Russia.
The Chinese waved the Americans off and said they didn’t think an invasion was imminent. US intelligence showed that on one occasion Beijing shared the Americans’ information with Moscow.
Recent speeches by some of China’s most influential advisers to the government on international relations suggest that the miscalculation may be based on deep mistrust of the United States. They saw it as a waning power that wanted to wage war with false intelligence because it would benefit the United States, financially and strategically.
Jin Canrong, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing, told state broadcaster China Central Television or CCTV on Feb. 20 that the US government had been talking about an impending war because an unstable Europe would help Washington, as well as the financial and energy industries. After the war broke out, he admitted to his 2.4 million Weibo followers that he was surprised.
Just before the invasion, Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, mocked the Biden administration’s war predictions in a 52-minute video program. “Why did ‘Sleepy Joe’ use such bad information about Ukraine and Russia?” he asked, using Donald Trump’s favorite nickname for President Biden.
Earlier this week, Mr. Shen held a conference call about the crisis in Ukraine with brokerage clients entitled, “A War That Wouldn’t Be Fought.”