There’s Debt, and There’s Debt

James Jay Carafano speculated on the lessons People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping is learning from Russia President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. One of those lessons is the coming cost of bailing out Putin’s economy, should he win, lose, or draw in Ukraine, and should Xi choose to do a bailout.

Beijing’s buddy in Moscow is going to be an economic basket case. Even if Beijing wants to bail them out with their patent debt trap, that is going to cost a lot of money—likely more than the Chinese Communist Party can spare. Buying up Russia at fire-sale prices might be more than even Xi can manage.

Not necessarily. The People’s Republic of China and generations of the state of China before it have considered (Russian) Siberia to have been stolen from the Chinese. A few short years ago, Putin and Xi concluded an economic deal that has Russia and the PRC jointly exploiting eastern and southern Siberia’s vast resources, both on the ground (timber) and below it (ores, oil, natural gas, among others), with the vast bulk of the labor being Chinese, and with that Chinese labor (and their families) moving into Siberia to live and do the work.

One way to do the bailout, with its re-formed means of debt repayment, would be to alter the exploitation deal in the PRC’s favor. Sharply alter it.

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