China's position on the war: to sit on two chairs

China's position on the war: to sit on two chairs

On July 9, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to speak out against the war in Ukraine. Wang Yi for his part announced the maintenance of relations with the Russian Federation and emphasized Beijing's rejection of any "interference" in relations with Moscow. 

What is China's position on the war in Ukraine and why is Xi Jinping cooperating with Putin?

China's policy towards Ukraine

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the policy of the PRC has changed: from rhetoric about the "sad" fate of Ukraine to respect for territorial integrity and a call for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investments temporarily suspended its operation on the territory of the Russian Federation; Beijing delayed negotiations on the sale of civil aircraft spare parts to Moscow; Chinese energy giant Sinopec suspended negotiations on  $500 million investments in the construction of a gas chemical plant in Russia. Smartphone manufacturers Huawei and Xiaomi halved the amount of products shipped to the Russian Federation, and the automobile company Geely  suspended operations at a factory in Belarus, products from which were exported to Russia.  

Zelenskyy declared his interest in support from Beijing and emphasized the importance of influencing the Russian Federation. If sanctions are imposed, the state of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will become difficult, since the volume of trade between China and Russia in January-February 2022 increased by 36% compared to last year.  

At the same time, according to the Customs Administration of China, the country purchased more than 8 billion tons of Russian oil, which is 55% more than in May 2021. Celestial empire did not condemn the Russia's warfare and did not recognize its actions as terrorism and genocide.

Why does China not support Ukraine for 100%?

China has quite strong economic ties with Ukraine. The Chinese company China Merchants Group has port terminals in Odesa. In 2020, Kharkiv agreed to purchase 40 metro cars from the Chinese railway group "CRRC", and Ukrainian neon is an important element in the creation of semiconductors in the PRC. Back in 2013, Chinese partners announced their intention to invest $21 billion in energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and mortgage lending projects. 

However, China does not have a pro-Ukrainian position. This is influenced by the "Motor Sich" case, in which a trial is ongoing regarding the illegal freezing of Chinese shares, and the absence of an ambassador in China, which makes it impossible to directly defend the interests of the state. 

The foreign policy issue is also important since the country's policy is built on it, in particular regarding Taiwan - Beijing's neutral position may be due to plans to seize the island. The People's Republic of China has repeatedly declared the alleged "historical affiliation" of Taiwan to China. 2020 has already seen the Sino-Indian border conflict over the disputed Aksai Chin region and the partial seizure of Nepalese territory along the Himalayan border, which Nepal denies. The Economist notes that Putin's defeat or ouster would make Xi more vulnerable to electoral defeat, given the document's "friendship" and struggle with NATO and the West. 

At the same time, the President of the "Liberal Democratic League of Ukraine" Artur Kharitonov notes that China is interested in the destruction of democracy and wants to see the defeat of Ukraine to intimidate Taiwan, oppress Hong Kong and other Asian countries, on whose territory it has claimed.

"China is the same cancerous tumour as Russia, just with a different level of metastases," says Kharitonov.

Why does China not support Russia for 100%?

Russia's support could spoil China's plans for the One Belt, One Road initiative, a project to connect Asia, Europe, Africa, and North and South America with a single extensive transport, logistics and communication network. Beijing has already invested more than $4 trillion in the initiative, with which connects the future of the state because according to the vision of the leadership, the PRC should become a leader in the project. Given the likely collapse of relations with the West in the event of military aid to the Russian Federation, the Chinese leadership has been restrained in its approach to the Kremlin's requests.

The second obstacle is the lack of benefits for China. While Russia's share of China's imports is 3.2%, the US, Japan and Germany import is seven times more. 

At the same time, China declared its readiness to strengthen cooperation with Russia, conducted joint military exercises, reported on strengthening strategic ties and advocated the lifting of sanctions. Moreover, Chinese supplies of goods related to the defence industry to Russia have increased significantly, in particular, the import of microcircuits has increased more than two times, material for the manufacture of aluminium - by 400 times. 

"The People's Republic of China was on the side of the Russian Federation from the very beginning of the full-scale war, in particular, information was spread on Chinese channels about the alleged Nazis in Ukraine and the so-called staging of the events in Bucha, Irpin and Borodyanka. Despite financing the war through the purchase of Russian resources, one hundred percent support for Russia is the support that does not interfere with China's interests. Recent forums from Shangri-La to the G20 make it clear whose side China is on. It hates Ukraine, as it has since the Revolution of dignity. The only thing that keeps us from resolutely supporting Russia is the fear of losing resources," says Kharitonov.

On February 5, China agreed with the Russian Federation on the simplification of grain trade, and On February 4, the Chinese side supported the proposals of the Russian Federation on the formation of long-term legally binding security guarantees in Europe. However, China's foreign policy suggests that Russia is perceived as a future colony rather than an ally.

In recent years, China has been investing in Africa to relocate production due to rising labour costs. China sponsors the construction of railways, ports and energy facilities. In addition, Africa has untapped natural resources. At the same time, the West and Ukraine call on Africa to be careful, because they see a potential return of the colonial strategy. 

China's loans to the Russian Federation amount to $44 billion, and total investments - up to $59 billion. While China remains the largest trading partner of the Russian Federation, the part of Russia in the Chinese exports is only 2%. Given the loss of technology due to sanctions and the likely post-war crisis, China's policies on the African continent may be applied to Russia.

As the President of the Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine notes, the colonial policy of the People's Republic of China is carried out according to the model of the USSR: countries "for colonization" are chosen based on the principle of communist views in power. Kharitonov is sure that Russia is already a colony of China. The Russian government is already replacing the vast majority of Western products with Chinese counterparts, which makes the country dependent.

At the same time, according to Kharitonov, the main danger of the complete transformation of the Russian Federation into a colony is the probable use of Russian territory as a springboard for a future global war. However, the information about the possible seizure of Russian lands by China is fake.

"It is more profitable for them to keep a colony that will supply them with resources for pennies and use Russian proxies for provocations in the world, to destabilize the situation for their benefit," said the President of the Liberal Democratic League of Ukraine.

However, the colonization of Russian territories will not help Ukraine, but will only create several threats, as it will create a border with the communist empire, which will have Russian resources. To counter China's policy, it is necessary to form strong ties with countries that fully understand the threat, including Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.