Politico: Final blow to Chinese "neutrality" on Ukraine war

    WORLD  20 June 2024 - 09:00

    In a recent analysis by POLITICO, it has become evident that China's alignment with Russia amid the Ukrainian conflict has reached a definitive milestone with its withdrawal from the Swiss peace conference.

    Despite some earlier distinctions on specific issues, Beijing's support for Moscow has notably intensified since the onset of Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022.

    China's stance on the Ukraine conflict has shifted decisively, particularly evident with its withdrawal from the Swiss peace conference. Initially perceived as sympathetic towards Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, China's support for Moscow has notably deepened over time, as highlighted by its recent non-participation in the peace summit despite European hopes for its involvement.

    President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine expressed disappointment over China's absence from the peace conference, revealing accusations that Beijing actively dissuaded other nations from participating, with Russian collaboration. Although China recognizes Ukraine's sovereignty and has distanced itself from Russian narratives painting Ukraine as a Western puppet, its alignment with Moscow on critical issues is unmistakable.

    China has expressed consistent support for Russia's security concerns regarding NATO's expansion eastward, attributing the conflict primarily to U.S. actions aimed at provoking regional tensions. Over the years, China's historical skepticism of NATO has evolved into outright opposition, intensified by NATO's 2022 strategic concept naming China as a security challenge.

    The concept of "indivisible security," which discourages nations from enhancing their security at others' expense, aligns China with Moscow's long-standing criticisms of NATO activities. Despite endorsing this concept jointly with Russia before the invasion, China has now integrated it into its Global Security Initiative, underpinning President Xi Jinping's foreign policy vision.

    Both nations also share a mutual disapproval of Western sanctions imposed on Russia, with China rejecting what it terms as illegal unilateral sanctions and actively supporting Russia economically despite facing increasing challenges in its global relations. Chinese firms have adapted to strengthen trade relations with Russia, suggesting a strategic and potentially irreversible structural shift.

    Despite maintaining dialogue with China, European leaders remain cautious about legitimizing Russia's actions in Ukraine by involving Beijing extensively in peace efforts. This caution stems from concerns that China's pro-Russian stance could undermine efforts to resolve the conflict impartially, given its apparent reluctance to exert leverage on Russia.

    In summary, China's alignment with Russia over Ukraine has evolved significantly, marked by its refusal to participate in the Swiss peace conference and its increasing support for Moscow's geopolitical positions. This stance poses challenges to international efforts to mediate the conflict and underscores China's strategic divergence from Western approaches to global security and diplomacy.

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