fredag 4. februar 2022

China: What does it want from the Ukraine crisis with Russia?

As the war of words between the US and Russia grows louder over Ukraine, one major player on the international stage has spoken up firmly as well: China. In recent days, Beijing has called for calm on both sides and the end of a Cold War mentality, while also making it clear it supports Moscow's concerns. It would seem obvious that China would side with its longtime ally and former Communist comrade Russia. But how and why it is doing this goes deeper than their history.

Last week, China's foreign minister Wang Yi called Russia's security concerns "legitimate", saying they should be "taken seriously and addressed". On Monday, Chinese ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun went further and said outright that China disagreed with US claims that Russia was threatening international peace. He also criticised the US for convening a meeting of the UN Security Council, likening it to "megaphone diplomacy" that was "not conducive" for negotiations.

Couched in diplomatic speak, China's official line on the crisis has been cautious and nuanced, stopping short of actual support for Russia using military force against its former Soviet neighbour.