CHINESE LEADER Xi Jinping may be headed towards a conflict with Russia as the crisis in Ukraine threatens to trigger a global food crisis.
16:32, Mon, Mar 7, 2022 | UPDATED: 16:32, Mon, Mar 7, 2022
In a recent speech, Mr Xi warned that China could not rely on global markets for its food security. This comes amidst fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could trigger a global food crisis. The Chinese leader highlighted the importance of food security as a national priority while speaking to national advisers at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
State broadcaster CCTV quoted Mr Xi saying that the rice bowls of Chinese people must be filled with Chinese grain.
This appears to be a snub to Russia, which is a key exporter of food, especially wheat.
In a report released last week, ING Global Head of Macro Carsten Brzeski wrote “Given that Ukraine and Russia have also been labelled as the global breadbasket, food prices are also likely to surge further.
“Both countries account for roughly a quarter of total global exports.”
The Russian invasion has to wheat prices soaring, with warnings that stretched commodity prices could lead to food price inflation pushed to even greater heights.
Prices of wheat have surged to a 14-year high after climbing 38 percent since the start of February, and around 75 percent so far this year.
Both Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat, accounting for nearly a third of the world’s demand combined, meaning the escalating conflict threatens to put a major dent in supply.
This has led to China scrambling to secure its food supply, as the country is currently the world’s largest importer of food.
The country has imported over 100 million tonnes of grains every year since 2014.
This underscores the growing tensions between the two countries as experts claim that Mr Xi may have been “misled” by Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to GB News, Steve Tsang, the director of the SOAS China Institute, said that the Chinese leader’s relationship with his Russian counterpart is increasingly “strained”.
He said: “The Chinese Government is staying quiet because Xi Jinping was misled when Putin was in China.
“He was under the assumption that whatever Putin was going to do would happen after the Olympics – which was true – but also that it would not impact China’s interest in Ukraine.