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2022 Winter Olympics concludes


2022 Winter Olympics concludes

The 2022 Winter Olympics concludes today. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics will conclude the Beijing-hosted event today.

Mirroring the opening ceremony, today’s closing ceremony will largely be boycotted by Western governments, which are protesting Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang. India boycotted over an incident during the Olympic torch relay. In contrast, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a bilateral summit on the Games’ opening day, before Putin became a guest of honor at the opening ceremony.

The Games have enabled the two leaders to cement closer relations and included a $117.5 billion trade deal for Beijing to buy Russian oil and gas. This stance has implications for Russia’s current geopolitical moves against Ukraine and NATO in Europe because it potentially shields Russia from global sanctions that will likely follow any invasion of Ukraine.

Given these economic ties, China is highly unlikely to criticize Russia should it invade Ukraine. However, aside from offering diplomatic support for Russia against NATO expansion and US rhetoric, it is unlikely China would specifically support a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Beijing still cultivates strong bilateral ties with Ukraine, which is likely why China has not recognised Crimea as part of Russia.

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