Take China and Russia's 'no limits' relationship with a 'grain of salt,' says a former PBOC advisor

Take China and Russia's 'no limits' relationship with a 'grain of salt,'

April 4, 2022: -China and Russia’s so-called “no limits” partnership is “situational.” It should be taken “with a grain of salt,” according to Li Daokui, former advisor to the country’s central bank called the People’s Bank of China.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Beijing and Moscow announced a “no limits” strategic partnership they said was meant to counter U.S. influence. In a joint statement, both countries said there were no “forbidden areas” of cooperation, but they did not mention Ukraine, even though Russian troops were building upon the Ukrainian border.

“I choose to believe that China will not militarily support Russia,” Li, currently Mansfield Freeman professor of economics at Tsinghua University, told CNBC on Wednesday. “The on-limit relationship should be read with a grain of salt.”

“However, China will keep doing business with Russia based on humanitarian principles. That is, to help Russian residents be tough through this challenging period,” he said.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Beijing’s official stance has blamed the conflict on NATO’s eastward expansion. So far, Chinese authorities have refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor fully.

It stands in sharp contrast to much of the developed world. Multiple countries are slapping unprecedented sanctions against Russian businesses, banks, and individuals that left Moscow with severe consequences for its unprovoked invasion.

The Russian economy is expected to decrease into a deep recession this year, with the Institute of International Finance predicting a contraction of up to 15% due to the war.

I predicted that Beijing, in the meantime, would be “very proactive” in pushing for both Russia and Ukraine to “come to a speedy agreement.”

“Let’s keep in mind that both Russia and Ukraine have been good friends with China before this conflict,” he said. “People tend to forget Ukraine is a wonderful friend of China, besides Russia.”

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