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The Winner of the War in Ukraine Will Be Neither Russia Nor the West, but China

The Asian superpower is the country that will be able to come out better after the economic crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

China's flag

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LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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A few years ago, China has ceased to be a sleeping giant or a third hegemonic pole, to be a real contender for the title of first global power above the traditional United States, Russia and the European Union. If we talk about economy, today China ranks as the second global power, only ahead of the United States. This is precisely the main goal in which China wants to surpass the rest.

This is why in the midst of the war in Ukraine, the Asian giant has preferred not to take sides and opt for pragmatism that will lead it to come out better than its other major competitors. For the moment, this has worked for him, and he has been the main beneficiary of the crisis that affects most economies. China today maintains its discourse of a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine, but it has not wanted to take a clear side in this fact, and this pleases Russia.

On the one hand, according to the data for the first quarter of 2022, the US economy fell 1.6%, a fact that alarms several experts in the face of the consequences it is representing. On the other hand, by comparison, China's GDP grew 2.5% in the same period.

This news must be viewed with a magnifying glass. On the one hand, it is well below the 12.7% that grew in the same time last year, but considering the zero COVID-19 policy that China has implemented in its most prosperous provinces, these are good results.

Additionally, with the current diplomatic and sanctioning siege that the West is raising against Russia, China has presented itself as the ideal partner for Moscow. This relationship has been strengthened and proof of this was the most recent meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and China (Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi) during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in early July.

The main benefit that China is already seeing is in gas supply. Since the sanctions from Europe began to reach the regime of Vladimir Putin, Russia has begun to reduce the supply of the precious product to Europe. Recently, the Russian state-majority company Gazprom warned Germany that it will not be able to supply enough gas and will not be able to fulfill its agreements due to force majeure. Germany rejects this warning and assures that the "reasons of force majeure" are specific and Russia does not comply with them.

Well, this gas that stops reaching Europe, Russia is sending it to China. On July 17, according to the Gazprom company, Russia supplied a historical record of Russian gas through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline. Company data details that since January and June 2022, gas exports between these two countries have increased 63.4% , reaching 7,500 million cubic meters.

Although for now, this gas that goes to Asia comes from the fields in eastern Siberia and not from those that supply Europe, Russia is already working on an interconnector to be able to change the destination of its exports more easily.

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This shows that Russia has not managed to supply its income 100% and that it still feels the economic blow. But China does benefit. Like India, the main buyers of Russian gas in Asia.

Even China could benefit in an unexpected way. According to CNN, Joe Biden would be contemplating lifting some tariff sanctions on China that Donald Trump introduced at the time. The American media highlights that due to high prices due to inflation, a good alternative would be to free various products from taxes in order to reduce figures and increase the purchasing power of US citizens.

Regardless of whether the decision that would be of great benefit to China is made, the fact that Washington now has it among its possibilities means that Biden is cornered and his advisers seek to lower the prices of products and the inflationary phenomenon.

Although a world economic crisis would strongly affect all countries, including China, it is true that the health of the finances of the eastern superpower has a better chance of coming out with flying colors. History has shown it well, after great crises or conflicts, these are the moments in which a hegemonic change can take place.