It’s always good to know that your friend has your back in a fight.

The Chinese government issued a statement on Thursday blaming the conflict in Ukraine on the United States and NATO while piously asking Putin to respect the sovereignty and national borders of Ukraine.

The Chinese then went ahead and purchased several billion dollars of wheat from Moscow and approved a multi-billion dollar purchase of Russian gas.

China, which has very little in the way of gas and oil reserves, appears poised to blunt NATO sanctions on the Russian oil and gas industries by purchasing all they can handle. And Putin’s friends in Beijing will no doubt find a way to evade the sanctions on Russia’s banks to keep the economy above water.

Associated Press:

“All parties should work for peace instead of escalating the tension or hyping up the possibility of war,” Hua said. “Those parties who were busy condemning others, what have they done? Have they persuaded others?”

After their Beijing meeting, Xi and Putin issued a statement endorsing key foreign policy issues for both sides — Moscow’s opposition to a NATO expansion in former Soviet republics and China’s claim to the self-ruled island of Taiwan.

Moscow’s attack has thrust Beijing into a conflict between its partnership with Putin and its sensitivity about respect for national borders due to its anxiety about holding onto restive areas such as Tibet and Xinjiang.

As if to remind Washington about their claims on Taiwan in the midst of Ukraine’s war with Russia, Chinese planes violated Taiwan’s air space — something that’s become an alarmingly regular occurrence.

Washington Free Beacon:

The number of aircraft involved was well off the last large-scale incursion, 39 Chinese aircraft on Jan. 23, and since then, such fly-bys have been sporadic with far fewer aircraft.

The ministry said the latest mission involved eight Chinese J-16 fighters and one Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft, which flew over an area to the northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the top end of the South China Sea.

Taiwanese fighters were sent up to warn the Chinese aircraft and air defense missiles were deployed to “monitor the activities”, the ministry said, using standard wording for how Taiwan describes its response.

There is some suspicion among security experts that China is going to school on the U.S. and NATO in the Ukraine crisis, probing for weakness.

Fox News:

“They have done the calculus as to what this would ‘cost them’ if they were to move against Taiwan. And they are getting more data points now looking at what the West is doing now vis-à-vis Russia,” said Heino Klinck, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia during the Trump administration.

“It will inform and potentially shape Chinese decision-making,” he continued in reference to the U.S. response in Eastern Europe. “Any sign of weakness…will be taken into account by the Chinese.”

Without China’s participation, sanctions will have little impact on Russia. Certainly, China isn’t going to bankrupt itself for Russia, but Beijing will be of enormous assistance to Russia in the coming months, and the crisis will cement the already strong ties between the two powers.

The world is about to become very complicated.

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