mandag 4. april 2022

China’s Position on Ukraine Will Be Determined by Events on the Battlefield

When Moscow ordered tanks to roll into its neighbor’s capital, the world watched with dismay as Beijing stayed silent. The “situation is rather complicated,” read one Foreign Ministry cable to its local embassy; “‘much listening, little speaking’ is necessary.” On the day of the invasion, the Chinese government called for “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.” But when the fog of war receded, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily, described the friendship between Beijing and Moscow as “eternal and unshakeable.”

The year was 1956 and the country that had fallen victim to the Kremlin’s belligerence was Hungary.

Flash forward to February 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has elicited a familiar response from Beijing. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially paid lip service to principles of sovereignty, but later described its partnership with Russia as “rock solid.” China abstained from – rather than vetoed – U.N. resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion, but Beijing blamedthe United States and NATO for the outbreak of hostilities. President Xi Jinping claims that China “stands for peace,” but U.S. intelligence leaks suggest that Beijing signaled willingness to provide Russia with military aid.