The Argentine, Pakistani And Russian Leaders’ Trips To China Strengthened Multipolarity
This analysis will highlight the top takeaways from each leader’s meeting with President Xi and explain their impact on the emerging Multipolar World Order.
Many world leaders have visited the Chinese capital of Beijing to support their national teams in the ongoing Winter Olympics, but the trips of three in particular stand out as extremely strategic. These are the meetings that Argentine President Alberto Fernández, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin had with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This analysis will highlight the top takeaways from each meeting and explain their impact on the emerging Multipolar World Order.
Argentina is a developed economy that participates in the G20. It’s a regional leader and currently holds the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). President Fernández’s visit also coincided with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between his country and China. He became president in 2019, which also resulted in former Cristina Fernández de Kirchner becoming Argentina’s Vice President. Both politicians are regarded as firm believers in multipolarity.
It’s therefore fitting that President Fernández signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China on Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative. They also reached a deal on nuclear power too, which is fully in line with both leaders’ environmentalist visions. These outcomes showed that developed economies also mutually benefit by cooperation with China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), which takes more forms than just roads and ports.
Moving along to Prime Minister Khan, his country has long been regarded as China’s iron brother due to their fraternal ties over the decades. His meeting with President Xi saw the two sides further strengthen the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership following a 33-paragraph joint statement. They reaffirmed their full support for one another on every issue of importance and agreed to expand the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is BRI’s flagship project.
Unlike Argentina, Pakistan is a developing country but even it too immensely benefits from BRI. Prime Minister Khan specifically praised the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) lifting of 770 million people out of poverty and hopes to emulate its success. To that end, they also signed a number of other deals, including on investment and vaccine cooperation, et al. Both countries also discussed expanding CPEC to Afghanistan and enhancing their cooperation in international fora to promote real multilateralism.
President Putin stands apart from those two other leaders by virtue of the fact that he leads a major country, one that also happens to be experiencing unprecedented pressure from the declining US unipolar hegemon at the moment. Since China and Russia jointly serve as the most powerful engines of the emerging Multipolar World Order, they released a whopping 5,300-word statement together. This declaration confirmed that they see practically everything of global significance the same way.
This meeting was very important for President Putin because Russia was relying on its comprehensive strategic partners in China to serve as a pressure valve vis-à-vis the West. President Xi, of course, didn’t disappoint. Their joint statement literally concerned “International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development”. They also agreed to another gas deal for Russia to supply China with 10 billion cubic metres more of gas a year, which will reduce Russia’s export dependence on the EU.
Most people don’t think of Argentina, Pakistan, and Russia as having much if anything in common, but the Beijing Winter Olympics proved that their leaders all have a shared interest in visiting China to cheer on their national teams and also meet with President Xi. Each of their countries are China’s respected BRI partners, all of whom are envisioned as playing different but complementary roles in this global connectivity vision.
Argentina, by virtue of its developed economy status and presence in Latin America, shows that BRI isn’t just for developing countries in the Eastern Hemisphere like some have wrongly thought. Regarding Pakistan, its hosting of CPEC makes this country’s comprehensive success integral to BRI’s. As for Russia, this country doesn’t just serve as a bridge between Eastern Eurasia and Western Eurasia but is a fiercely sovereign major country that won’t submit to US bullying. All three countries also support multipolarity.
The Winter Olympic Games themselves are a purely apolitical event focusing solely on sporting but they nevertheless served as a convenient reason for many world leaders to visit Beijing and meet with their gracious host President Xi while they were there. The timing couldn’t have been better since the deals that were reached are truly game-changing in the grand strategic sense and came precisely at the moment when the US’ unipolar hegemonic decline has unprecedentedly accelerated.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.