China voices support for Russian invasion of Ukraine

As Ukraine braces for Russia’s impact, China has weighed in – and the two superpowers are saying one thing but doing another.

China has come out in support of Russia’s impending invasion of Ukraine, insisting that the “outdated” NATO alliance is the real cause of the crisis.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Russia’s “reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously and resolved”.

He made no reference to European and Ukrainian security concerns over Moscow’s 100,000 troops, heavy tanks, armored vehicles, warplanes and warships gathering at their borders.

“We call on all parties to remain calm and refrain from doing things that stir up tensions and exacerbate the crisis,” he said.

Within hours, his Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, was promoting the crisis.

He said Moscow was acting in response to “legitimate security concerns” over what was a “leftover from the Cold War”.

“As the world’s largest military alliance, NATO should abandon the outdated Cold War mentality and ideological biases, and do things that are conducive to maintaining peace and stability.”

Meanwhile, Moscow began issuing demands.

President Vladimir Putin wants to divide Europe into spheres of influence. The desires of nations caught in between are irrelevant.

Beijing has publicly backed the move.

US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman previously said Putin was asking the alliance to reject any new membership applications as “non-starting”.

“We will not allow anyone to slam the open NATO door.”

Small Eastern European nations such as Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus have requested NATO protection. It is a response to the Russian leader’s efforts to bring the former Soviet Union states back under Moscow’s control. And Sweden and Finland, long neutrals, have debated the move in light of Putin’s increasingly aggressive behavior.

“China firmly opposes all kinds of petty cliques,” Zhao said. Although he went on to describe Beijing’s growing relationship with Moscow as “mature, stable and resilient.”

Brothers in arms

President Xi will greet President Putin during an official visit to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Chinese UN representative Zhang Jun said this week that Moscow had promised Beijing not to disrupt the two-week event by invading Ukraine.

“Regarding the situation in Ukraine, we heard from Russia that it has no intention of starting a war,” he said.

The two have gone to great lengths to highlight their growing relationship in recent years. This is despite a long-running dispute over ownership of Russia’s eastern provinces.

The relationship has yet to be formalized by an alliance. But recent large-scale combined military exercises demonstrate a willingness of their forces to work together.

Much of Beijing’s support for Moscow has consisted of global posturing and propaganda contests.

He accuses Washington of being in decline. Not knowing how to react to the rise of Russia and China.

“Western elites have given their answer: shift the problem to countries they don’t like – China and Russia,” a Communist Party op-ed in the world times accused.

The excuse of authoritarianism is consistent.

“Russian and Chinese thinkers make the argument that different cultural traditions and ‘civilizations’ should be able to develop in different ways,” the editorial insists.

mutual defense

And Russia’s insistence on historical ownership of Ukraine mirrors China’s ambitions on Taiwan.

“The entanglement between Ukrainians and Russians dates back to Tsarist Russia,” reads the Communist Party’s opinion piece. “If there is any similarity between the Ukrainian tension and the Taiwan question, it is that they have nothing to do with the world order.”

Ukraine and Taiwan, however, disagree. Not that their opinion matters to Russia and China.

Beijing argues that the Western rules-based order is over. He says a more “democratic” world order is in sight.

“With China and Russia as defense, the world should follow this path in the future – and the United States and some of its pawns will try to erect barriers to prevent urgently needed reforms.”

This pact will soon be put to the test.

Joint naval exercises have just been completed in the Arabian Sea. Both forces practiced anti-piracy operations and simulated ship seizures.

“The exercise further enriched the connotation of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia in the new era, and improved the capabilities and level of the two armies to jointly deal with maritime threats and maintain channel security. maritime strategic areas,” a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Defense said.

A formal alliance is not yet on the cards. But Beijing and Moscow describe their economic and political ties as a “buffer” against interference from Washington.

And that could lessen the impact of future sanctions.

Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov said the US dollar would no longer be the basis of economic activity between the two countries. Instead, each will trade directly in each other’s national currencies.

“There are so-called financial information transmission systems,” Denisov said. “The one developed in Russia may well meet our requirements at least in payment and settlement relations with Chinese financial and banking organizations.”

A game of thrones

China has not always openly supported Russian aggression.

He refrained from backing Moscow in a UN Security Council censure resolution after it invaded Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. He also refused to back the occupation of parts of Georgia in 2008.

And so far, Beijing’s relations with Kiev have been cordial.

Earlier this month, President Xi Jinping congratulated President Volodymyr Zelensky on 30 years of official relations. Xi stressed “developing China-Ukraine strategic partnership”.

But Ukraine’s independence is at the heart of the unfolding crisis.

Moscow has called for the revocation of NATO membership of former Soviet Union countries. He wants to be reassured that Ukraine will never be allowed to join.

At stake is the mutual defense pact that is at the heart of the NATO alliance.

All nations agree to come to the aid of any attacked member.

And it blunted Putin’s ambitions to restore the Russian empire.

Thus, he began to secure his relations with China.

“There is no doubt that the current situation in the world favors further strengthening of the strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing,” Moscow’s Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said. “But unlike the United States and its NATO allies, we have no geopolitical plans or goals against a sovereign country.”

Meanwhile, Washington is increasingly convinced that Moscow will act soon.

“I don’t know if he’s made the final decision,” Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said, “but we certainly see any signs that he may be using military force. [between] now and mid-February.

Jamie Seidel is a freelance writer | @JamieSeidel

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