What Was China Quietly Doing in Moscow While Biden Was Making a Splash in Kyiv?

Presidentish Joe Biden made a splashy surprise visit with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday, but the real action might have been taking place much more quietly in Moscow.

Biden dashed right in and out of war-torn Kyiv, spending all of two hours by Zelenskyy’s side and, of course, in front of the cameras.

My friend and Hot Air colleague Jazz Shaw argued that a visit that brief was all about “the optics.” Jazz wrote that “so many other world leaders have gone to Kyiv already that it made Biden look rather timid by comparison. Better late than never, I suppose.”

At least Bill Kristol was pleased, I guess.

But while Biden and Zelenskyy were doing everything but hold hands, China’s top diplomat was on his way for a quiet visit to Moscow, according to CNN.

Wang Yi was appointed last month as Chinese strongman Xi Jinping’s top foreign policy adviser and is helping Xi play the peace card in his propaganda effort to split the West.

Yi has been playing the part (accent on “playing”) of peacemaker, telling European leaders at the Munich Conference this weekend that “Some forces might not want to see peace talks to materialize. They don’t care about the life and death of Ukrainians, nor the harm on Europe. They might have strategic goals larger than Ukraine itself. This warfare must not continue.”

China has not led any kind of peace effort. Instead, Xi has been rattling his sword across the narrow strait that separates mainland Communist China from the free Republic of China on Taiwan.

Nevertheless, Yi claimed that, unlike NATO, China does not “add fuel to the fire” in the Russo-Ukraine War.

Beijing has been credibly accused of helping Moscow avoid the sanctions put in place since Russia’s renewed invasion began last year. “Russia continues to have access to crucial dual-use technologies such as semiconductors,” according to D.C. think tank Silverado Policy Accelerator, “thanks in part to China and Hong Kong.”

That’s a strange way for China to wage peace.

But Washington worries that Beijing might escalate from providing electronics and other contraband to deadly weapons and ammunition. That could be what Yi’s visit to Moscow is all about.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday on Face the Nation that he’d told Yi about America’s “concerns” over “China’s considering providing lethal support to Russia in its efforts in Ukraine.”

“Weapons, primarily weapons.”

To be fair, America’s top diplomat hasn’t exactly been waging a diplomatic effort to end the war, either.

If Beijing were to start sending weapons and ammo to Russia, we’d have a global proxy war being fought in Ukraine, similar to our wars in Korea and Vietnam — only with the roles reversed.

The West’s two strategic interests in the Russo-Ukraine War are to help Ukraine not lose while also negotiating the speediest possible settlement. The longer this damnable thing continues, the greater the risk of escalation, as Yi’s trip to Moscow demonstrates.

I don’t know exactly what, if anything, Biden’s trip to Ukraine was supposed to accomplish aside from nice photo ops and predictable speeches. On the other hand, Yi’s visit to Moscow could generate real dividends for Putin and his war effort and increase the risks of escalation.

We’ll know for sure later this week or next, so stay tuned.

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