Feb 28, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

Interesting but China may not be as upset as you think. It seems clear China was forewarned about it and that it is likely the China and Russia actually discussed this on their February 4th meeting (perhaps even going so far as to ensure coordination that the whole thing kicked off AFTER the Olympics rather than during the Olympics as happened last time with Georgia in August 2008).

What also seems likely is that China is taking notes on this for their eventual operation to reunify Taiwan and the mainland under one government again (but this time it won't be a KMT government). We already had the editor of the Chinese state press agency (Xinhua) noting that China would be needing Russia's reciprocal "understanding and support when wrestling with America to solve the Taiwan issue once and for all,".

Through this China is gaining invaluable insight into how the West in general might react to an attack on Taiwan (sanctions, SWIFT expulsion, central Bank asset freezes, attempting to deliver weapons (including fighter aircraft, MANPADS and anti-armour missiles) to Taiwan, perhaps covertly sending their own armed forces as "volunteers" in a newly established Taiwan International Legion or something...perhaps even volunteer Fighter pilots to pilot those planes sent) and thus how to plan ahead to avoid the most serious consequences. Russia already did some of this. Unlike folks like Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi they had already located at least 50% on their central bank assets in countries that won't sanction them. They already diversified their foreign exchange holdings so that US dollars went from being 45% of the total in 2017 to around 16% in 2021. Chinese Yuan went from 2.3% in the same period to 13% (and recall the Yuan is fixed to the US dollar by the PBOC; and with China being the main trading partner for Russia and for most of the rest of the world and China having already established currency swap facilities with a number of countries these Yuan holding might have some value beyond just China). Russia already sold off most of their US treasuries a few years ago as well.

So China essentially gets to see the dress rehearsal of the MINIMAL Western response at the cost of temporary Yuan appreciation relative to the Rouble, Euro and US dollar. When this is all over what's to stop the PBOC from simply printing more Yuan to bring the exchange rates against EUR and USD back to what it was for them on Feb 23rd? It might not bring the exchange rate with RUB back to that level but what does that matter with the West cutting trade ties with Russia? Russia's demand for certain goods will simply shift from the West to China (and India and the domestic market where possible) and the price that is available from these non-western sources is the price that has to be paid if the goods and services are really needed. It isn't like a super-low exchange rate means that the goods won't be bought. After all look at Vietnam. Their dong is about 3,600 to 1 Yuan and around 23,000 to one USD but it doesn't stop them from having a trade deficit with China to the tune of $50 billion.

For China this is essentially the price of admission to see the dress rehearsal. It might as well be an investment.

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