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Russia’s attack on Ukraine: where the friendship with China ends – Politics

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What does China want? Or more specifically: What is China, Russia’s most important ally, doing in the conflict over Ukraine? This is being discussed more in Washington than in Europe. Experts are not entirely unanimous on this issue.

But the White House warns there will “certainly” be consequences if China helps Russia evade sanctions imposed over the Ukraine invasion, Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser, said on CNN on Sunday. without going into more detail about it. how could this look.

All he said was that they would not sit idly by and allow any country to compensate Russia for losses from international economic sanctions.

Could China moderate the Ukraine war?

On Monday, Sullivan met with China’s top foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi in Rome for seven hours, according to the White House, to “keep the lines of communication open” and discuss the world situation following Russia’s attack on China. Ukraine two and a half weeks ago.

Washington also wanted to know whether China could use its influence over Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tension, or secretly prefer to help the Kremlin chief, since defeating Ukraine would weaken the West.

[Jeden Donnerstag die wichtigsten Entwicklungen aus Amerika direkt ins Postfach – mit dem Newsletter „Washington Weekly“ unserer USA-Korrespondentin Juliane Schäuble. Hier geht es zur kostenlosen Anmeldung.]

The talks were “intense,” a US government representative said later. Sullivan has expressed Washington’s “serious concern” over China’s rapprochement with Moscow. He declined to comment on how China had reacted to the accusations.

Doubts about China’s neutrality

Beijing is officially trying to give the impression that it is playing a neutral role in the conflict and is interested in a peaceful solution. But Washington seems to have doubts about it.

US media reported on Sunday, citing government officials, that Russia had asked China for military and economic aid. Sullivan said the government is “closely monitoring” the extent to which China is supporting Russia “materially or economically.”

More about the Ukrainian war on Tagesspiegel Plus:

It also assumes that China was at least partially informed in advance about Russian invasion plans. Moscow and Beijing deny it. The White House has also accused China of spreading Russian propaganda about alleged US-backed chemical weapons labs in Ukraine.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen]

The relationship is complicated and always seems like a balancing act. On the one hand, the US sees the People’s Republic as a strategic rival that threatens its neighbors with its expansionist drive and ruthlessly promotes its economic growth. On the other hand, Washington trusts Beijing’s willingness to cooperate when it comes to dealing with climate change, pandemics and other global challenges.

Beijing does not want to talk about an invasion

Willingness to cooperate would also be very welcome in the Ukraine war. Here, Beijing initially sided with its “strategic ally” Moscow, while at the same time trying not to seriously damage relations with Europe and the United States. On February 4, Putin and Chinese head of state Xi Jinping issued a joint statement in which they spoke out against NATO’s eastward expansion.

[Alle aktuellen Entwicklungen im Ukraine-Krieg können Sie hier in unserem Newsblog verfolgen.]

China also refuses to talk of an “invasion” or “war” and expresses understanding for Moscow’s security concerns. On the other hand, it is said that the territorial independence and sovereignty of Ukraine is respected.

The situation is also complicated from an economic point of view. China is Russia’s most important trading partner. About 20 percent of Russia’s oil exports go to China, making the People’s Republic the largest individual buyer. It is also the largest buyer of Russian coal and imports a lot of wheat, wood and other raw materials.

China has repeatedly condemned the sanctions against Russia following the attack on Ukraine as damaging “the global economic recovery”. Yet at least some Chinese companies are sticking with it, out of concern about punitive measures from the West.

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