News / Europe

Putin Lobbies for Chinese Backing in Ukraine Standoff

Putin Hopes for Chinese Backing in Ukraine Standoffi
May 08, 2014 9:57 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to travel to China later this month, hoping to seal energy deals and build diplomatic relations amid a souring of relations between Moscow and the West. But analysts say President Putin may struggle to win allies in his war of words with the United States and Europe over the violence in Ukraine. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Henry Ridgwell
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to travel to China later this month, hoping to seal energy deals and build diplomatic relations amid a souring of relations between Moscow and the West. Analysts say Putin may struggle to win allies, though, in his war of words with the United States and Europe over the violence in Ukraine.
Tensions are flaring on Russia's western borders as pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine battle government forces loyal to Kyiv.

On the opposite side of Russia, its Asian neighbors are watching with concern. Beijing, in particular, is rattled, according to Professor Arne Westad, director of the IDEAS policy group at the London School of Economics.

"I think the Russians, in part, got the Chinese views on this wrong. I mean, China's policy is still emphasizing non-intervention and sovereignty. So this has been a difficult one for China," said Westad.

Chinese President Xi Jinping chose Moscow for his first foreign trip last year, signing a raft of energy deals.

Russia aims to triple oil exports to China, and analysts say growing tensions over Ukraine are forcing Moscow to look for gas markets outside Europe -- with Putin aiming to sign off on building a pipeline to China. But it's far from a done deal, said Natasha Kuhrt of Kings College London.

"It's going to have a hard time doing that because China also likes to ensure that it has a diversity of supply," she said.

Kuhrt said Moscow also will find it difficult to gain support from Beijing over its stance on Ukraine. "They'll be much more cautious. I think one always has to beware of the kind of rhetoric that's wheeled out for domestic consumption within Russia. Essentially, China will not really cozy up to Russia."

China is wary of upsetting relations with other global powers, said Westad. "Not least in terms of China's own economic interests, it's Washington that counts. So you can't go too far in supporting a policy that not just the Americans, but the Europeans too - very important for the Chinese, too, in terms of their economic development - see as completely outrageous."

East Asia's other economic power - Japan - has imposed visa restrictions on some Russian officials. Visiting Brussels this week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his country's alliance with Europe. Abe said Ukraine shows that the world is getting less predictable, and Japan and the European Union are responsible for taking a very proactive role together toward world peace.

Japan disputes the ownership of the northern Kuril Islands, controlled since 1945 by the Soviet Union and then Russia. Tokyo may seek to draw parallels with Ukraine, said Westad.

"There are some similarities, seen from a Japanese perspective, in terms of Russian behavior when it comes to these kinds of possessions," said Westad.

As its relations with the West turn sour, analysts say Moscow will find it difficult to build alliances in the East amid the continuing unrest in Ukraine.

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Comment Sorting
by: Frank Chung from: Los Angeles,CA
May 10, 2014 10:17 AM
Moscow will have some difficulties by seeking alliance with China in the East;for both China and Russia may have a common historical scores to settle with Japan plus territorial dispute over Kuril islands and Sekaku respecttively.In the mean time, China has its own headaches internally with Xingjiang and Tibet plus potential Taiwan with ethnic tensions and uprising;externally disputes with Vietnam and Philippines in the South China Sea,therefore it is hard for China to be helpful for Russia's problems with the West over Crimea and Ukraine.Maybe misery likes company as this case demonstrates.Besides, there is a long historical animosity between China and Russia hidden under the rugs;if alliance would be an expedience and convenient marriage at best.

by: RhenoAbu from: USA
May 10, 2014 4:05 AM
China surely supports Russia as Obama for his clueless and stupidity, is trying to containing and weaken both China and Russia in the Asia Pacific.
In Response

by: Christy from: Canada
May 11, 2014 5:32 PM
For heaven's sake, Russian trolls should have to learn English if they're to comment on English-speaking sites.

I'm in Canada and I know we do a lot of business with China too, not as much as the US though. They already own huge chunks of the Alberta tar sands operation and have been looking to purchase even more sources of oil of late. As a matter of fact, some were concerned over the amount of Asian ownership that exists already in Canada.
Be that as it may, if China was to oppose the EU and the west by siding with Russia - Canada might be forced to re-think that foreign ownership.
Now I know we're just a tiny cog in this situation (heck, we're never even mentioned as part of 'the west') but we're in a pretty good financial position here right now, and a big machine is just as useless if a little cog is broken or a large one.

by: Blur from: San Francisco
May 10, 2014 2:54 AM
Some of you posters are pretty ignorant. The majority of China's exports are outsourced by foreign corporations. China doesn't make the profits from those products when sold. So your boycott will do nothing. Japan experience it for themselves, Trade has dropped between the two. Japan went into a recession. It did nothing to China. Why? Because 70% of exports from China to Japan are Japanese companies that outsourced to China. That's what happens. Then you don't account that prices in the West go up because no more cheap labor to exploit. Maybe you'll go to Vietnam or another cheap exploitative labor country where they'll expect you to build the factory and infrastructure. That's the difference with China. Foreign corporations didn't have to build factories and infrastructure in China. It was already there. Then you also have to find the resources to make your designed-to-be-crappy products so people have to buy another. China did that too. Then because your costs rise, Chinese companies will make a cheaper alternative that will kill the competition. Then you also forget the West and allied developed countries are over saturated. Meaning markets like China will be where making the profits are. But you just boycotted your way out from China thus you don't make money and your companies go bankrupt. China wins in the end.

by: jax from: germany
May 09, 2014 2:38 PM
I buy alot of products from china,but if i will see increas of support for russia from chinas part and military cooperations I will stop buy from china totally as others will ..besides europe products better quality so china be on your watch we all think the same ..its not right to go take land grabs from other countries..all that support such gofuXX yourself!
In Response

by: Paint
May 10, 2014 11:59 AM
Ya right... as if China doesn't do any bad things now... and people are still perfectly happy to buy their cheap goods. So you're suggesting the worst thing they've done is not support a fraud western backed Ukrainian government?
In Response

by: john john from: Brazil
May 09, 2014 7:27 PM
Poland and Ukrane should build their own nuclear weapons now!! US, UK, et russian scam promissed Ukraine in the Budapest Deal to protect Ukraine borders! They don´t seem to be caring much about it! Poland should not rely on others ! Don´t ever count on others to protect you! Slava Ukraina! Slava Polska!

The bad thing about this is that Putin doesn’t intend to impress the world with high-tech, efficient farming or Russian culture. This insane individual can do nothing else but rattle a saber. Even if it doesn’t always perform.

And [a couple of words] for the future. We defeated Hitler’s Nazism, and we will defeat Putin’s Nazism.

by: goldingen from: Greece
May 09, 2014 12:53 PM
Att.Mr Huang
We are not buying Chinese goods through Walmart, we buy some chinese commodities directly from Chinese in their own shops in Europe. Since Mr.Huang stays in Canada and not in China, he probably does not know that even some our harbour facilities are operated by Chinese companies. However I understand that some Canadian Chinese firmly support Putin.

by: Goldingen from: Greece
May 09, 2014 4:52 AM
Many consumer goods that we buy in the Western Malls are made in PRC, are of Chinese produce. China depends on the markets of the well-to-do countries in the West, at least to earn money to pay for the expensive Russian oil.I do not think China will risk the relations with the USA and Europe.
In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 09, 2014 10:36 AM
you are so naive. China doesnt sell products directly to US or EU customers. we sell products to big distributors such as Walmart. Walmart want to make money so it will keep doing business with China, and you americans europeans has no choice and have to buy made in China because Walmart wont give you a chance to choose. lol that is why Chinas export keeps increasing every year even during the crisis. man, your country su cks! so dont be jealous! we chinese firmly support Putin!

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
May 09, 2014 2:48 AM
I think, by reiterating the necessity of strong alliance between EU and Japan, Abe is looking forward to supressing Chinese agression to Senkaku islands rather than punishing Russia. Eventhough Kuril islands has been posessed by Russia, it recently has showed some wills to negotiate the territorial dispute with Japan. On the other hand, China is trying to change status qou by millitary forces over the sovereignty of Senkaku islands. Abe wants to get along with Russia if possible, but he deliberately chose Senkaku islands as an emergency agenda.
In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 09, 2014 10:31 AM
FYI, China and Russia are going to have a naval drill near Diaoyu islands.
Japan has territory conflicts with all its neighbors, Russia Kuril, Korea, Koduo, China, Taiwan Diaoyu islands. There must be something wrong with Japan.

by: cheahhh from: penang
May 09, 2014 1:42 AM
China will support Russia stand on Ukraine because it is the US and EU which started this crisis by intentionally planning to take over control of Urkraine by covert means from Russian military base in Cremia peninsular . US and his accomplices EU kicked the ball first and therefore deserves to pay for the conseqences they created ,instead of blaming Russia for it .Stop putting the blame on Russia alone.
China does not depend on USA and EU trade to survive and cannot use economic sanctions anymore . USA cannot also use its military might to threaten China as it will mean a WW3, too where USA has made enemies out of Russia and China and some middle east nations .
USA can makes friends by staying out of "regime change "policy and stop the plan of implementing her NWO agendas.

by: Anonymous
May 08, 2014 10:37 PM
Best thing in the world China could do, is tell Putin to smarten up.

by: meanbill from: USA
May 08, 2014 8:24 PM
You can bet your bottom dollar, that China will always say the same thing, "that they would like to see a peaceful resolution to any countries crisis" and there position will always be neutral in other countries politics... China does business with the US, EU, Russia, and Ukraine, and doesn't want to take any side in this dispute... (Just a peaceful resolution to it?)...

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