The war of words between the US and Russia over Ukraine is intensifying and China, a major player in the international arena, has also spoken out against it.
In recent days, Beijing has urged both sides to remain calm and end the "Cold War mentality". At the same time, it has made it clear that it supports Moscow's concerns.
It looks like China will side with its longtime ally and former communist comrade Russia on this issue. However, it should be noted that China has a long history of this behavior.
'China and Russia will protect the world'
Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Russia's security concerns "legitimate" and said "they should be taken seriously."
On Monday, China's ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, added that China did not agree with US claims that Russia was a threat to international peace.
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He also criticized the United States for convening a UN Security Council meeting, likening it to "megaphone diplomacy" which he said was "not conducive" to negotiations. Speaking diplomatically in the crisis, China's official position has been cautious and complex, and it has avoided supporting the real use of Russian military force.
But China's state-run media has spoken out. In this age of growing anti-Western sentiment in China, the Ukraine crisis has been cited as another example of the West's failures. He believes it is the US-led NATO that is refusing to allow other countries, such as Russia and China, to defend their territory and respect their right to sovereignty. The Global Times claims that "old and close ties between China and Russia are the last shield to protect the world order," while a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency said the United States was "distracting" Is trying to restore its influence in Europe.
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Jessica Brand, policy director for the Brookings Institution, says China's posting of such rhetoric in multiple languages on Twitter (which is banned in China) is intended to show the United States and NATO who the rest of the world is Looks like. "I think the point here is to uproot the United States, to tarnish the image of liberal institutions and to discredit the media," he told.
He added that this was an example of how Beijing "regularly exaggerates the Kremlin's points of view on Ukraine in its own interests."
Common goals, common enemies
Some experts believe that China and Russia are even closer these days than Stalin and Mao. The Crimean crisis in Ukraine in 2014 brought Russia closer to China, which offered economic and diplomatic assistance to Moscow during its international isolation.
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Since then, the relationship has grown. China has been Russia's largest trading partner for years, and bilateral trade reached a new high of 7 147 billion last year. The two countries also signed a roadmap for closer military ties last year, intensifying joint military exercises. On Friday, Vladimir Putin will travel to Beijing to attend the Winter Olympics at the invitation of Xi Jinping. Putin will become the first world leader to meet President Xi Jinping in person in two years.
The Chinese president has recently avoided traveling abroad and has met only a handful of foreigners since the Corona epidemic. Significantly, both Russia and China currently have strained relations with the West. "Beijing and Moscow have a common interest in pushing back the United States and Europe and playing a major role in international politics," said Chris Miller, an assistant professor of international history at Tufts University.
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Experts believe that in the face of growing tensions and tensions, if Western sanctions are imposed on Russia, China will come to Russia's economic aid as it has done in the past. This could include the provision of alternative payment systems, loans to Russian banks and firms, further purchases of Russian oil, or the abolition of US export controls. The West has warned that further sanctions would be imposed if Russia invaded Ukraine.
Does China really want war?
However, China will have to pay a significant financial price for this support. Therefore, experts believe that for now, Beijing's support for Moscow will be limited to rhetoric, which is a cheap deal. There is no doubt that the military conflict in Ukraine will add to the difficulties of the United States, which will undoubtedly be beneficial for China, but many observers believe Beijing's assertion that it does not want war.
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Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund, says China is still trying to strengthen ties with the United States. Speaking to the BBC, he said that if Beijing gave strong support to Moscow, it could create further tensions with the United States, including the difference between clear democracy versus dictatorship.
Political scientist Manxin P. has said in a recent article that Beijing is "avoiding its stake" in a possible crisis because it is wary of Moscow's real intentions. In addition, large support for Russia could lead to opposition from the European Union, China's second-largest trading partner, which could trigger a "European response." Professor says this could be similar to support for Taiwan, a concern that has arisen in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
Taiwan is not Ukraine'
The United States, and some of the Chinese communities around the world, see the Ukraine conflict as a possible test of America's loyalty to its allies.
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Many are asking if the United States would intervene militarily if Russia invaded Ukraine, and if China would one day try to reclaim Taiwan, would the United States do the same? Taiwan is an island that sees itself as an independent country and considers the United States its biggest ally. The question of whether the United States will go to war with China over Taiwan is a legitimate concern in Asia, as hostility between the United States and China grows and Taiwan frequently reports the infiltration of Chinese warplanes into its self-proclaimed air defense zone.
The United States has been deliberately vague about what it would do in the event of such an attack. There is a law that requires the United States to assist Taiwan in its defense.
But at the same time, Washington diplomatically acknowledges Beijing's one-China policy, stating that there is only one Chinese government. However, experts have ruled out such similarities. According to him, the geographical and political situation in Taiwan and Ukraine is very different. He noted that the United States has a deep historical relationship with Taiwan and sees it as an important part of the United States' ideological, diplomatic and military strategy for Asia.
"China is not Russia, and Taiwan is not Ukraine," says Glaser. The United States has a lot at stake in Taiwan compared to Ukraine.
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