Soon after the Russian onslaught against Ukraine, most observers agreed that the conflict would gradually become a protracted war. In other words, the fighting would lose intensity, and perhaps ceasefires would be declared, only to be followed by allegations of their violation. As NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said, it is absolutely possible that this war will drag on for months and years.
On November 4, 2022, Chancellor Scholz paid an eleven-hour visit to Beijing with a group of top German business executives. He was the first Western leader visit to China since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the first major political leader to meet Xi Jinping after the Chinese Communist Party Congress.[i] At the end of March 2023, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón visited China. He was followed by President Macron and the President of the European Commission von der Leyen last week.