PapersThe European Union in the WorldChina and the West: The gap is set to grow

China and the West: The gap is set to grow

By Centre for European Reform

China’s relations with the US and the EU are likely to worsen, because of both its aid for Russia and its economic strategy. At first glance, relations between China and the West seem to be in a relatively benign phase. Over the past six months, a series of summits between China’s President Xi Jinping and various US and EU leaders have avoided rancour. But having recently been in Beijing – for the first time in many years – I sense that China-West relations are heading for turbulence. The two main causes are China’s indirect support for Russia in the Ukraine war, and its new economic strategy. China is helping Russia in various ways, such as by stepping up purchases of oil, and by providing key components and dual-use goods for Moscow’s war effort. During the two years 2022 and 2023, Russia- China trade rose by 64 per cent, to reach $240 billion in 2023. China’s exports to Russia grew by 47 per cent in 2023 alone. Beijing has also given Moscow diplomatic comfort by blaming the US and the expansion of NATO for provoking the invasion.

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Author: Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform.

This article is available on the Centre for European Reform website.

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