Wednesday, May 18, 2022

China eyeing risks and rewards of US-Russia standoff over Ukraine

China is watching with increasing interest as Russia and the West face off over Ukraine. With more than 100,000 Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border, there is growing concern in Western countries that the Kremlin is planning an imminent invasion. Moscow has denied any such plans.

Western countries have threatened unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow if it invades Ukraine. If cut off by the West, can Russia look to the East, to China for help? Professor Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, says Beijing is ready to step in.

“China, under Xi Jinping’s leadership, has a clear policy of making the world safe for autocrats. And China, under Xi Jinping, now considers itself a leading socialist country and has a soft spot for former socialist countries. So, Russia under (President Vladimir) Putin ticks two boxes that make Russia very deserving of Chinese support. ,

Watch: China risks, rewards US-Russia standoff over Ukraine

“I think the policy that China is likely to adopt is that whatever they can to help the Russians cope with the economic sanctions that the US and Europeans may impose on Russia. ( However) I think the economic ties between Russia and China are not really strong enough to replace the breakdown of economic ties between Russia and Europe,” Tsang told VOA.

Moscow-Beijing Coordination

Beijing is embroiled in its territorial disputes in Asia and has offered political support for Moscow.

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“This foreign policy coordination will certainly increase,” says analyst Dmitry Suslov of Russia’s National Research University in Moscow. “From the Russian point of view, the deepening of the military partnership between Russia and China is precisely one of the major pains that Russia can inflict upon the United States and NATO to force them to compromise,” Suslov said recently. Said in a panel discussion. Ukraine, organized by London-based policy group Chatham House.

NATO states are considering increasing the deployment of troops to Eastern European member states to deter Russia. The US has put another 8,500 troops on alert for possible deployment to Europe.


University College London security analyst Julie Norman says China is closely watching the response of NATO and the US to any Russian aggression. “Even if these troops are deployed in Eastern European states, no state is talking about sending troops directly to Ukraine to protect it. And of course, China is looking into that, with its territorial disputes in some of its territories,” Norman told VOA.

Steve Tsang says Taiwan is China’s biggest territorial dispute – and risks miscalculating as Beijing looks at events in Ukraine.

“The Chinese are seeing Americans and Europeans talking big, but not doing much about it…

China’s Belt and Road

Despite their mutual rivalry with the United States, the interests of China and Russia do not always align. China has also invested billions of dollars in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which could be at risk in the event of a conflict.

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Beijing’s multitrillion-dollar “Belt and Road” initiative ‘cuts through several former Soviet bloc states, including Ukraine. A direct rail and ferry freight link opened in 2016, connecting China with the port of Ilyichevsk on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast via Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, bypassing Russia.

Ukraine is a major exporter of grain to China. By 2025, Beijing and Kiev aim to increase bilateral trade by 50 percent to $20 billion a year. China has also funded infrastructure projects, including a new metro line to Kiev. If Russia attacks Ukraine, could Beijing’s investment in the region be at risk? For now, says Tsang, China is showing little concern.

“The more immediate effect on the Belt and Road Initiative would actually be Russian military intervention in Kazakhstan. And the Chinese government has actually shown that they are quite comfortable and comfortable with it. For them, it is a matter of authoritarian states and autocratic states to remain in power. It is more important to have support, not to be closer to Russia than to China for some of them, at this point in time. In the long term, things may change,” Tsang said.

Analysts say that in the short term, China is keen to keep a lid on rising tensions for at least the next few weeks, as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics starting February 4.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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