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Letzte Aktualisierung: March 15, 2022

China's diplomatic balancing act in the Ukraine conflict

By Cora Francisca Jungbluth, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Cora Francisca Jungbluth, Senior Expert International Trade and Investment at the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
China's leadership did not mention the "situation in Ukraine" with a single word in its work report to the National People's Congress (NPC). Instead, it has spent the past few weeks trying to take a neutral position in a war in which there really is no such thing as a neutral position. The Chinese rhetoric is a diplomatic balancing act with an even more uncertain outcome. In the year of the all-important 20th Party Congress this fall, Ukraine has thus become a central quandary for the Chinese leadership.
The war between Russia and Ukraine comes at a time that could not be worse for China: The Olympic Winter Games were shadowed by Covid-19 and did not bring a similar soft-power effect as the Summer Games did in 2008. China’s economy is under pressure due to the pandemic, the unsolved problems in the property sector, and the long-known downsides of China’s heavily export-biased growth model. And ahead of this year’s key political event, the 20th Party Congress, China’s leadership needs stability above all – social, political, economic, national, and international stability. Russia’s war, which China plays down by referring to it as the "Ukraine Situation (乌克兰局势)," makes it more difficult to maintain this stability.
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