News / Asia

    China Attempts to Strike Delicate Balance on Ukraine

    A Russian soldier marches as he and comrades block the Ukrainian infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, March 4, 2014.
    A Russian soldier marches as he and comrades block the Ukrainian infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, March 4, 2014.
    Shannon Van Sant
    As the crisis in Ukraine unfolds with Russian military troops fanning out around Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Russian diplomats have asserted that China supports Russia’s actions there.  Throughout this week China’s comments on the situation have been muted. 
     
    Qin Gang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said China believes in non-interference in internal affairs and is taking into consideration historical facts as well as the complexity of the situation.  
     
    That statement contrasts one earlier this week from Russia's Foreign Ministry after the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers spoke by telephone.  Russia said Moscow and Beijing had broadly coinciding views on the situation in Ukraine, implying that Russia had China’s support for its military actions in the country.
     
    China’s Foreign Ministry, however, has said China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and that all parties should use dialogue and negotiation to preserve peace in the region.  
     
    Chinese news media coverage has been more pointed.  In an editorial this week China’s Global Times newspaper stated that “the Ukrainian situation shows us clearly that in the international political arena, principles are decided by power.”  In a commentary China’s Xinhua news agency argued that the West’s “biased mediation has polarized Ukraine and only made things worse in the country.”
     
    Wang Dong, a professor of International Relations at Peking University, said conflicting views represented by the Chinese media and government are because China has much to lose and gain with the unfolding crisis in Ukraine.  

    “China also has a lot at stake involved because we also have business with Ukraine," Wang said.
     
    In recent years Ukraine and China have formed military, trade and agricultural partnerships.  In 2012 Ukraine became the fourth-largest arms exporter in the world, with many of those exports going to China.  Beijing's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was built in Ukraine.
     
    Ukraine agreed last year to a deal for China to lease five percent of the country’s land to grow crops and raise pigs for sale to Chinese state-owned companies.  As part of that deal China promised to build highways and bridges in the country.
     
    China also pledged $8 billion in aid during ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Beijing in December.  That was in addition to $10 billion China had previously given to the country.
     
    War in Ukraine would endanger China’s investments there, and China’s comments this week may be a delicate balance between offering some support for its neighbor, Russia, without directly backing military intervention from any side that could throw the region into more chaos.

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    Comments
         
    by: Liem from: PA
    March 06, 2014 2:14 PM
    Wow so many negative comments. So few people here seem to understand the complexity of the issue and the crisis of propaganda China is facing. On the plus side for China, though, I'm guessing they can use this precedent for their own intentions to invade Taiwan. If Putin can do it, I'm sure Xi is thinking he can do the same.

    by: jesus garcia from: texas,usa
    March 06, 2014 1:54 PM
    Putin already knows us does not allow bullying of any country.so why would he do this already knowing the full results of nato maybe he doesnt care about peace.plus right after the olympics was this in the planning for some time.on cnn putin said he would aim nukes at ukraine if they joined nato!plus china is not for russias actions.putin is ex kgb so imagine his theorys of action and agresion in a situation like this.he probably still thinks the cold war still exsist.he probably thinks hes general zodd from superman.but wait whos superman;) .@.

    by: jonathan huang from: canada
    March 04, 2014 5:05 PM
    @seato
    interesting, if you can read other comments, you should see many agree with China and Russia.
    Russia and Ukraine have security treaty, Russia has the right to use force to protect its interests in Ukraine. On the contrary, Turkey and China never had that kind of agreement.
    more than that, the legitimate Ukrainian president invited Russia to intervene.
    Anyway America is the most evil country in the world! it was america invaded iraq with fake excuse and without UN resolution.
    try to spin that!

    by: Hillary kemboi from: kenya
    March 04, 2014 1:51 PM
    support russia intervention in ukraine

    by: SEATO
    March 04, 2014 12:53 PM
    @Jonathan Huang: As far as Ukraine is concerned,Crimea is part of its territory. By sending troups into Crimea,Russia has violated Ukraine's territorial sovereignty. By supporting Russia's troup deployment in Crimea, China has gone against principle of non-interference in other countries' affaire. If Turkey sent troups into Xinjang to protect their Turkic-speaking Uighur kinsmen, would the Chinese government like it?? Obviously no, neither do the Ukrainains want to see Russian troups on their soil.

    The Chinese are the last people that anyone want as friends, because you are evil, devious, dishonest and greedy. Tell me if there are any countries out there that have actually benefited from Chinese friendship or investment. None. The man who leased out 5% of Ukraine's land to China, was obviously bribed by the Chinese. He traded off part of his territory for his own benefit, not for the Ukrainian people. There are loads of Chinese in Russia Far East. One of these days, the Chinese would send their troups there to protect them, and call for its annexation into China, since everything belongs to China in prehistoric times

    by: van from: vn
    March 04, 2014 9:58 AM
    Russia now becomes a muscle country. If you dont follow me , I will use fist. For Syria, Russia says Syria future depends on its people. for Ukraina, its future depends on Russia fist. what a shame!!! why Russia is so likewar and bellicose, i can't understand. where is NATO and the US?

    by: Adam Jab from: Toronto
    March 04, 2014 9:29 AM
    I must admit China has come a long way into becoming a positive force in the world, unlike Russia which has reverted to threatening world peace and stability. When China says it believes in non-interference in internal affairs of other countries they don't. Putin's Russia also says this yet they maintain what they call a right of influence reaching outside their boarders tinkering with the internal affairs of Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan.... there are many others. Putin has his hands up so deep in yanukovych that it resembles a puppet.

    yanukovych was voted out of office by the Parliament, by members of his own party because they could not support this man. Now you have Putin parading saying thats not good enough. So much for not interfering with internal matters. He sees a country and crisis and tries to take advantage thinking its a good time to carve it up a little for himself for old times sake and to raise his own political support. Its sickening he would play this ugly game with peoples lives.

    by: John Penn from: US
    March 04, 2014 9:20 AM
    hampered by a catastrophic string of unimaginable blunders in the Middle east - the out right betrayal of Israel, the subversion of Egypt, the castration of Saudi Arabia... a disastrous European policies, the Asian debacle... and a disastrous mismanagement of his own economy - the "president" - aeh aeh aeh LET ME BE CLEAR... finds himself completely out matched by the incredible limitations of his confected "talents" viz a viz Putin who is clear, resolute and commands authority. Compared with Putin, Obama looks what he really is - a sad incompetent "affirmative action" Muslim community organizer...

    by: jonathan huang from: canada
    March 04, 2014 9:20 AM
    the west should back off Ukraine. Inciting hate and riot is only thing the west good at, but never gave any real money to Ukraine. China and Russia are the only hope for Ukraine. China has money, Russia has oil. wake up my Ukrainian friends, choose your friends wisely!

    by: Dr. Sebastian P. from: UK
    March 04, 2014 8:46 AM
    poor president Hussein... trying his best to pull off his best imitation of what he perceived to be a somewhat less than competent "leader"... lets look at this poor community organizer crowning glories... he lost Iraq to Iran... he lost Egypt... he lost Israel... he lost Germany... the Brits mock him... Putin just can't believe his stupidity... Japan can't bring themselves to trust a word he says... his stooge Kerry is a laughing stoke... China views him as some sort of imbecilic primate...

    yeah, America, you are doing really well... - yes we can...!! LOL

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