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Ian Explains: Limits of the China-Russia Friendship | GZERO World

The limits of the China-Russia friendship

CIA Director Bill Burns once called Vladimir Putin an “apostle of payback.” But what about Putin's fellow autocrat wingman, Xi Jinping?

Xi and China are now in an awkward spot, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World. The Chinese are trying to condemn the invasion of Ukraine without condemning Russia, the invader.

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Xi Jinping & Vladimir Putin: No Trust Among Autocrats | GZERO World

Xi Jinping & Vladimir Putin: No trust among autocrats

Melinda Liu describes the current relationship between authoritarian buddies Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin as a "marriage of convenience."

"They've known each other a long time, so it's not entirely awkward, but it's not entirely comfortable either. There's ... not a lot of trust," says Newsweek's Beijing bureau chief in an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. "Each of them probably know[s] that down the road, a number of years from now, the tables will be turned and one of them will be aligned with America against the other ... It's always been like that, and it always will be like that."

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China’s Discontent & the Russia Distraction | Beijing Bureau Chief Melinda Liu | GZERO World

China’s discontent & the Russia distraction: Beijing bureau chief Melinda Liu

The relationship between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping is a "marriage of convenience," Newsweek's Beijing bureau chief Melinda Liu tells Ian Bremmer in a GZERO World interview. "They've known each other a long time, so it's not entirely awkward, but it's not entirely comfortable either. There's ... not a lot of trust."

But according to Liu, Xi's biggest problem right now is not Putin, but China’s zero-COVID policy - which now has 26 million people under lockdown in Shanghai. China is facing a challenge they never saw coming — and that "hits right to the soul."

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Podcast: China's uphill battles, from Putin to COVID: Newsweek's Melinda Liu

Listen: The relationship between Putin and Xi is a "marriage of convenience," journalist Melinda Liu tells Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Russia's war in Ukraine has put China in an awkward spot: they condemn the invasion, but not the invader.

Liu, who has been Newsweek's Beijing bureau chief for decades, believes that Xi is likely as isolated and surrounded by sycophants as Putin, which makes predicting what he'll do next very hard. Chinese coverage of the war hasn’t been consistent, and neither is China’s historical relationships with Ukraine and Russia.

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A demonstrator holds a sign at a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Taipei.

REUTERS/Ann Wang

Taiwan is not Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spurred a lot of speculation about whether China, Russia's most powerful friend, may soon feel emboldened to use force to achieve its decades-long dream of annexing Taiwan. Eurasia Group analyst Neil Thomas disagrees, seeing no signs of increased urgency in China’s plans for the self-governing island. We asked him to explain.

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Potential Proxy War if Russia Takes Control of Kyiv | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Kyiv likely to fall as Russians escalate war on Ukraine

As Russian troops approach Kyiv, what will happen if it falls? How has the West reacted to Lavrov's UN speech? Will Taiwan be the next Ukraine? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

First, as Russian troops approach Kyiv, what will happen if it falls?

I think it's increasingly what will happen when it falls. I hate to say that. Unless the Russians lay down arms in large numbers because they don't want to fire on their brothers and sisters, the Ukrainians, which is possible and I hold out hope. But it doesn't look very likely thus far. The Russian force will overwhelm the Ukrainians as it is buried upon Kyiv. Look, what's going to happen is you're going to get a government in exile that will either be in the west of Ukraine conceivably, but that's a rump Ukraine that I can't imagine the Russians want, or they move to another country, Poland, maybe France.

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Annie Gugliotta

Will we finally ditch COVID in 2022?

Many of us, at least in the advanced economies, thought the pandemic would be over sometime in 2021. Vaccines worked, and a lot of people got them. Restrictions were relaxed, and things started to return to normal. But then came the virus variants, which threw a wrench into hopes of a speedy recovery. What'll happen next year?

Here are three things that could threaten the global post-COVID comeback.

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Gabriella Turrisi

What We’re Watching: G7 warns Russia, Israeli PM in UAE, Blinken in Southeast Asia, Nicaragua ditches Taiwan, Poland may stiff EU

Russia’s big plans for Ukraine. G7 foreign ministers warned Sunday of “massive consequences” if Russia invades Ukraine. It was the first joint statement by the group of rich democracies since recent satellite images revealed a significant buildup of Russian troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine. Indeed, according to reports, the force that Moscow is massing near Ukraine is larger than the one it used to annex Crimea in 2014. This comes after the Pentagon said that Russia could have 175,000 troops on the border by the end of January in order to invade the former Soviet republic. In an attempt to lower the temperature last week, President Biden and Vladimir Putin held a long video call, but the Russian president was not deterred by Biden’s threat of more economic sanctions if Russia escalates further. Putin says he wants NATO not to expand membership any further into the former Soviet Union, and to stop military cooperation with Ukraine. Moscow will reportedly send a proposal for a security arrangement this week. But Putin, who has already indicated his willingness to threaten European energy markets, also knows all too well that while Washington talks a tough game, it is not willing to send in troops to defend Ukraine.

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