- Interview with Janka Oertel: reassessing China’s motives
- Wang Yi rejects sanctions, but criticizes Russia
- War creates a shortage of raw materials for chips and electronics
- Evacuation of Chinese citizens from Kyiv on hold
- Tesla expands Shanghai plant
- CCP reprimands central bank and financial regulator
- Opinion: Nina Khrushcheva – China manipulates Putin
- So To Speak: “Feed trough hopping” – the quick job change
How is China positioning itself on the Ukraine conflict? At present, different tendencies are getting mixed up, and one contradictory report follows the next. But on closer inspection, China follows a rational concept. One thing is certain: Xi Jinping is solely interested in China’s rise. Russia is a useful troublemaker at best, testing the resolve of the Western alliance and at the same time making itself dependent on its remaining partner in the East.
That is why Beijing is still hesitating to take a position. First, it will wait and see how the conflict unfolds. If Putin is successful, China will be on board. If things go badly for Russia, China will quickly withdraw from the project. This step is already in preparation: On Sunday, Beijing cautiously began to distance itself from Russia’s actions. However, the choice of words still leaves all options open in the short term, as our analysis shows.
In the long term, however, Xi wants to get as much out of the situation as possible for China. One of Germany’s leading experts on China’s foreign policy puts the current events into the bigger picture for us. What is happening before our eyes is not a mere war over democratic Ukraine, it is shaping the future world order, says Janka Oertel speaking to Michael Radunski. Oertel heads the Asia program at the European Council on Foreign Relations and has previously worked at the United Nations.
The standards by which we evaluate China’s interests are no longer valid, Oertel warns. We have to abandon the certainty that the leadership is primarily concerned with growth and prosperity. It has decided to accept short-term economic damage to achieve long-term political goals.
On the bright side, the buildup of a united front of European countries over the weekend also signals to Beijing: The West is not quite as divided as it has long seemed. On the downside, we should begin to prepare for a world in which China and Russia cooperate closely, Oertel said.
Another lesson to be learned from the events involves Taiwan. Oertel advises listening carefully to autocrats when they present their plans. We should try taking their word for it instead of simply assuming strategic calculations. After all, Putin said years ago that he does not consider Ukraine to be a legitimate state. And Xi Jinping has repeatedly spoken of an imminent unification with Taiwan. All of this is currently raising enormous concerns in Taipei.
Today’s guest contribution is written by the great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev, the strong man of the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Nina Khrushcheva is a political scientist – and exposes Vladimir Putin for a serious error. Putin believes that he has gained an ally in China by signing an agreement at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. In fact, Khrushcheva believes China is playing the Russians off against the West. Strategists in Beijing regard Russia as corrupt and backward and intend to turn it into a vassal state. By burning all bridges to Europe, Putin is maneuvering his country into dependence on its big neighbor to the east. Thus, China could emerge tremendously more powerful from the events, according to Khrushcheva.
The war’s impact on commodity markets is also playing into Beijing’s hands. Ukraine – and now outlawed Russia – are home to deposits of metals and gasses needed for the production of chips and electronics. So here, too, the war could exacerbate the supply chain crisis and increase European economic dependence on China. These raw materials are so important for the high-tech industry that they may even have been part of Putin’s calculations to invade Ukraine, analyzes Frank Sieren.
‘It’s hard not to draw parallels to Taiwan’
Ms. Oertel, China claims that its policy is consistent, clear and unambiguous. In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, however, it seems as if Beijing is maneuvering and avoiding taking a clear position. On the one hand, it wants to protect the territoriality and sovereignty of states; on the other hand, it refuses to condemn Russia’s actions. China has abstained from voting in the UN Security Council. What are the reasons?
To understand this, you have to go back to Putin’s visit to Beijing shortly before the Olympic Games. Back then, Xi Jinping already chose Putin’s side, well aware of what could happen. That’s what irritates me the most. And also worries me.
Do you believe Xi already signed off on a Russian invasion of Ukraine back then?