Ukraine was 'has been a wake up call' for China says expert
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With the war in Ukraine now well into its fourth week, global nations are split in opinion when it comes to condemning the actions of Russia. In spite of severe punitive economic measures placed on Moscow, Beijing has refused to acknowledge the sanctions, along with a host of other nations aligned with Russia.
In a recent face to face meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the countries boasted of a new “just, democratic world order.”
Furthermore, both China and Russia condemned what they labelled as “illegal sanctions” on Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement following the meeting: “The ministers had a thorough exchange of views on the situation around Ukraine.
“The head of the Russian foreign ministry informed his Chinese counterpart about the progress of the special military operation… and the dynamics of the negotiation process with the Kyiv regime.
“The sides noted the counterproductive nature of the illegal unilateral sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and its satellites.”
Mr Wang said: “Both sides are more determined to develop bilateral ties, and are more confident in promoting cooperation in various fields.
“China is willing to work with Russia to take China-Russian ties to a higher level in a new era under the guidance of the consensus reached by the heads of state.”
China will now turn its focus to the European Union on Friday.
President Xi will meet EU leaders by video link on Friday, including European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Speaking of the goals of the meeting, the Chinese Foreign Minister said: “Confronted with growing uncertainties in the current global situation, China and the EU should be the major powers to safeguard peace and push forward the joint development of the Chinese and European markets.
“The two sides need to enhance strategic communication and mutual trust, conduct dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocal benefits, and inject positive energy and stability to the global situation that has been seeing growing turbulence.”
The EU on the other hand will use the occasion to raise concerns over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
An unnamed EU official speaking to CNBC said: “The EU wants to put pressure on China to be neutral with its stance over Russia’s recent military operation in Ukraine.
“The goal of the summit is ensuring, in a way, the neutrality of China so they don’t help Russia.”
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Another official said: “The summit is a defining moment for EU-China relations and if China aligns themselves with Russia that will obviously have a very negative impact on relations with the EU.”
Chinese experts believe it’s inappropriate to connect the Russia-Ukraine conflict with China-EU relations as the issue is not the problem that must be solved and tackled within the framework of China-EU relations but can only be considered as one factor affecting the relations.
However, China said it could also play a role in brokering talks between the EU and Russia.
Mr Wang said: “The EU would probably still need to get in touch with Russia. Since its relations with Russia have been frayed, China could serve as a bridge to get in contact with Russia.”
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In a conversation with EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borell prior to Friday’s meeting, Mr Wang reassured all parties China was in favour of peace.
Mr Wang ended: “On the issue of war and peace, we stand on the side of peace.
“Between unilateral sanctions and dialogue and negotiations, we stand on the side of dialogue and negotiation.
“Between fanning the flames and putting out the fire, we stand on the side of putting out the fire.
“Time will prove China’s position is responsible and will stand the test of history.”
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