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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Ufa, Russia, July 8, 2015. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS summits.

REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

Russian dependence on China deepens

In public, there are “no limits” to the old and dear friendship between China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, two leaders with a common distaste for an international system dominated by Western-led political and economic institutions. But China’s economy and population were 10 times the size of Russia’s before Russia invaded Ukraine, and the mess that war has created for Putin leaves Moscow even more deeply dependent on Beijing.

That’s the clearest explanation for the failure (so far) of China and Russia to agree on a plan to build the “Power of Siberia 2” gas pipeline, a project that would deepen their economic interdependence. Aware the Ukraine war has cost Russia its European energy customers, according to a new report in the Financial Times, China is reportedly demanding a price per unit of Russian gas that’s even more steeply discounted than the price China already pays for it, which is less than half the price Europe paid before the invasion. China is also refusing to commit to purchase more than a small fraction of the pipeline’s capacity.

The two sides may one day agree on a deal to build this pipeline. But the terms of that agreement will reflect the reality that Russia’s near-term need for cash is far greater and more urgent than China’s immediate need for Russian gas.

North Macedonia's EU membership bid complicated by new nationalist government
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Europe In :60

North Macedonia's EU membership bid complicated by new nationalist government

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Arizona, US.

What's the outcome and the likely result of the North Macedonia parliamentary election?

A new government, more nationalist, more rightists coming in. And the problem with that is that North Macedonia has made a number of concessions in order to make its EU path possible. First concessions through Greece in terms of the names and the number of concessions through France and a number of concessions through Bulgaria on minority and related issues. And the new government has got to say no to a lot of these things. And that further complicates the EU process, which is highly regrettable because the country in substance really deserves to move forward on that process.

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China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan disembark at Orly Airport, south of Paris, on May 5, 2024.

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/Pool via REUTERS

Xi goes on (short) European tour

This week marks President Xi Jinping’s first trip to Europe in five years. The Chinese leader will only visit France, Serbia, and Hungary – three countries where he’s likely to find the friendliest ears – and meet with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen to discuss trade tensions and China’s support for Russia in its war with Ukraine.

Xi, who landed in Paris on Sunday, will also have a tete-a-tete with Emanuel Macron for the second time in as many years. You’ll remember that the French president raised continental eyebrows last year with a state visit to Beijing, where he declared that Europe should not be drawn into a standoff between China and the US over Taiwan. Macron’s independent foreign policy approach left a positive impression on Beijing.

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Why the US-China relationship is more stable than you might think
Why the US-China relationship is more stable than you might think | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Why the US-China relationship is more stable than you might think

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. US Secretary of State Tony Blinken in the Middle East right now. But he just came from China, Beijing and Shanghai, and the US-China relationship is what I'm thinking about. Want to give you a state of play.

It continues to be better managed and more stable than we've seen in a long time. Now, not clear that would necessarily be the case, given the number of issues and places where we have friction between these two countries. Just over the course of the last couple weeks, you've got President Biden, putting new tariffs on Chinese steel, opening a new investigation into Chinese shipbuilding. You've got this anti TikTok policy that's coming down from US Congress. You've got $2 billion in additional military aid for Taiwan from the United States. You've also got lots of criticism from the Americans on ongoing Chinese support, dual use technologies for the Russians, allowing them to better fight the war in Ukraine.

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Xi Jinping's solution to his "Taiwan problem"
Xi Jinping's Solution to his "Taiwan Problem" | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Xi Jinping's solution to his "Taiwan problem"

"Xi has made it clear he plans to go solve the Taiwan problem while he's still in office." That's New York Times national security correspondent and New Cold Wars author David Sanger on why China's leader is setting his sights on the slender island off its eastern coast. Xi Jinping has made no secret of his belief that Taiwan belongs to China and that it is a national security imperative to bring it under Chinese sovereignty. But it's also an American national security imperative to prevent Xi from doing so, says Sanger. That's because the small island nation still manufactures the vast majority of the critical semiconductor microchips that power our modern world in both China and the United States.

"What Biden has done here in the semiconductor field of trying to choke the Chinese of the most advanced chips, but also the equipment to make those chips while trying to build up here, is the right step." At the same time, however, the Biden administration's push to manufacture more chips in the United States may also imperil the "silicon shield" that currently protects Taiwan from its Chinese neighbor. Nevertheless, Sanger argues that it's not just an industrial imperative for the United States to become self-sufficient in this area. It's a national defense imperative one as well.
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US TikTok ban: China’s complaints are a double standard
US TikTok ban: China’s complaints are a double standard | Nick Burns | GZERO World

US TikTok ban: China’s complaints are a double standard

Beijing blocks US technology companies like Facebook, Google, and X from operating in China. So why is the Chinese government so upset over the proposed TikTok ban in Congress? US Ambassador to China Nick Burns discussed China’s double standard when it comes to foreign tech firms on GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. The US has been pushing for TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app’s US operation, and millions of nationalist netizens on Chinese social media are decrying it as another example of the US limiting China’s global rise.

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China shouldn’t “coerce or intimidate” the Philippines in the South China Sea, says US Ambassador
China shouldn’t “coerce or intimidate” the Philippines in the South China Sea | GZERO World

China shouldn’t “coerce or intimidate” the Philippines in the South China Sea, says US Ambassador

Tensions are rising between China and the Philippines over control of the South China Sea, which Beijing sees as its territory, and Manila as its exclusive economic zone. On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, US Ambassador Nick Burns explained the US position that it is concerned about China’s aggression in the South China Sea, particularly at Second Thomas Shoal, a submerged reef where Manila deliberately beached a ship in 1999 and has used as a military outpost ever since.

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US aims to maintain military advantage over China by controlling tech
US aims to maintain military advantage over China by controlling tech | Nick Burns | GZERO World

US aims to maintain military advantage over China by controlling tech

The United States and China are in a race for economic and military superiority. On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, US Ambassador to China Nick Burns clarifies the Biden administration’s approach to “de-risking” from China’s economy, emphasizing that while Washington isn’t pushing for a complete decoupling, it’s pushing to shift its supply chains and limit the sales of critical technologies like advanced semiconductors that could be used by the People’s Liberation Army to compete militarily with the US. Despite China’s protestations about US tech restrictions, the Ambassador emphasizes that Beijing also restricts its dual-use tech.
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