Putin on Ukraine, Beijing seeks to walk a tightrope between Russia and the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally attacked Ukraine, not only recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk in the Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine as two independent states but also using troops to invade eastern Ukraine to carry out so-called “peacekeeping”.

Putin on Ukraine, Beijing seeks to walk a tightrope between Russia and the West

Russia’s aggression was immediately and severely condemned by the United States and Europe, but it embarrassed a diplomatically embarrassing diplomatic embarrassment for Beijing, which recently demonstrated China-Russia strategic alliance and solidarity by inviting Putin to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. And passive, so we can only walk a diplomatic tightrope, not only showing understanding and moral support for Putin, but also not offending the United States and Europe, which have already had a tense relationship with him.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on all parties to exercise restraint and “deescalate the situation and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation” during a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Blinken on Tuesday (February 22), Beijing time. But he also reiterated that “the legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected”, and he gave an unnamed endorsement to Russia’s request for security guarantees from the United States and NATO.

“The situation in Ukraine is deteriorating,” Wang Yi said. “China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent, the legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld.”

Although Wang Yi emphasized that China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent, His subsequent expressions were contradictory: “The legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected” implying that Putin was justified in sending troops to Ukraine because the United States and NATO ignored Russia’s security concerns; but “the purposes of the UN Charter and Principles should be upheld” but stressed that in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be upheld.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, called on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions, while continuing to engage in dialogue and consultation, seeking to seek solutions on the basis of equality and mutual respect, during an emergency meeting of the Security Council on the situation in Ukraine on Monday night. Reasonable solutions to address each other’s concerns.

“The development of the situation in Ukraine to the current situation is the result of a series of complex factors. China has always decided its own position according to the merits of the matter itself, and advocates that all countries resolve international disputes peacefully in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” Zhang Jun said.

The Washington Post believes that the remarks by two senior Chinese diplomats on the situation in Ukraine fully reflect the embarrassing situation that the Ukraine crisis has caused Beijing to be in a dilemma and even have contradictory positions in the context of Beijing’s attempts to further strengthen relations with Moscow.

For Beijing, non-interference in internal affairs and territorial integrity are at the core of its foreign policy. It is also a principle of international law that China often uses in response to criticism when it seeks to tighten control over Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, or to claim sovereignty over Taiwan.

If China supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it will further hurt its already deteriorating relations with the West; but Beijing wants to maintain its ever-closer relationship with Moscow so that it can hold back to back in countering the so-called “repression” by the United States and the West Heating.

“China wants to preserve its relationship with Moscow, while sticking to its principles, without hurting its relationship with the U.S. and the European Union,” Bonnie Glaser, Asia director of the U.S.-German Marshall Fund, told The Washington Post. “Dealing with this crisis is probably the most difficult diplomatic challenge that Xi Jinping has ever faced.”

Xi Jinping met Putin in Beijing at the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and the two sides signed a joint statement stressing that the two countries’ strategic partnership cooperation “has no restricted area”. And as tensions escalate in Ukraine, Beijing has repeatedly echoed Moscow, accusing the United States and NATO of deliberately creating tensions and ignoring Moscow’s legitimate security concerns.

In a video speech at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, although unnamed against someone who “blindly pushes up tension, creates panic, and even plays up war”, also said that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected And maintenance.

“This is the basic norm of international relations, which reflects the purpose of the UN Charter and the principled position that China has always upheld, and Ukraine is no exception,” Wang Yi said.

When Chinese state media reported the latest situation in Ukraine, they still blamed the worsening of the situation on the hype and provocation of the United States. In a post on Tuesday, Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, described Putin’s recognition of the Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine as independent states as a move “to break the deadlock.”

“Through these specific actions, he showed Russia’s strategic resolve,” Hu Xijin said.

Xinhua News Agency reporter Ming Jinwei posted on his WeChat account “Uncle Ming Zatan” on Tuesday that China should calmly observe the Ukraine crisis, properly handle relations with all parties concerned, and avoid “getting into trouble.” He believes that the Ukraine crisis is an important moment to test Sino-Russian relations.

“Russia’s biggest worry is that because China does not dare to offend the United States, when Russia needs China the most, China cannot express its understanding to Russia, provide certain support, and even take the approach of ‘riding the wall’ and ‘swinging’,” Ming Jin said. Wei said. “On the issue of the Ukraine crisis, China should understand Russia’s reasonable security concerns. On this basis, China will continue to adopt a posture of persuading peace and promoting talks.”

Ming Jinwei suggested that Beijing should say something “neutral and slightly biased” in public. Russia” will give Russia more “face”; but at the same time, try not to directly collide with the positions of the United States and the European Union, let alone take substantive actions to hurt the “inner” of the United States and the European Union.

“We should be clear that in the future, when China completely resolves the Taiwan issue, when China and the United States engage in various strategic games, we also need understanding and a certain level of support from Russia,” Ming Jinwei said.

The Ukraine crisis has worsened further on the eve of President Nixon’s ice-breaking trip to China and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué. Back then, the United States and China joined hands to fight the Soviet Union, which was aggressive around the world; now, China and Russia are uniting to warm up and compete against the United States and Europe. Changes in the world are always unexpected.

Sunbal Razzaq

Sunbal Razzaq is the founder & CEO of Sunshine Tips.

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