China's "Pro-Putin Neutrality". How Can We Force Beijing to Reconsider its Russia-Ukraine War Stance

Friday, 1 April 2022

A month into Russia’s war against Ukraine, China seems to have recovered from the initial surprise, adopting a stance that most experts describe as "pro-Russian neutrality."

Is it possible to influence China and force it to refrain from openly helping Putin’s regime? And what should Ukraine do to make that happen? 

In his article Pressured into Neutrality: Nine Steps that Should Preclude China from Supporting Russia, the Head of the Asia-Pacific Section at the New Geopolitics Research Network Yurii Poita answers these questions in detail.

For the time being, Ukraine’s main goal has been attained. China is not planning to give military or technical support to Russia (at least it claims so).

Besides, leading experts on China believe that Beijing will, by and large, adhere to the sanction regime as it is afraid of being hit by  secondary western sanctions.

In principle, China is expected to remain "pro-Russian neutral". But that does not mean that the West should no longer pressure Beijing to change its stance, ensuring that it does not become overtly pro-Russian. 

So, what could the EU and Ukraine do?

Step 1.  At the diplomatic level, they should put continuous pressure on China, stressing the ever-increasing losses incurred by Ukrainian civilians and the state, which now has to rebuild many civilian buildings.

Step 2. Ukraine must emphasize that it has its "rational security interests" and the right to self-defense, which is in line with the Chinese foreign policy principles. 

Step 3. The EU and Ukraine must tell the western expert and media community that China’s indirect support of Russia means that it also supports war crimes in Ukraine, which is detrimental to Beijing’s reputation.

Step 4. It would make sense to appeal to China’s own interests in the global arena.

Step 5. In the context of the Russia-Ukraine war, the EU and Ukraine must stress Ukraine’s independence.

Step 6. The parties should disseminate the idea that China’s support of Russia would ruin the economic relations between the EU and eastern Europe, undermining the long-term economic interests and projects, which are very important for Beijing. 

Step 7. It would be appropriate to remind Beijing that it is impossible for it to remain in the gray zone due to the war.

Step 8. Beijing should be reminded that because of the war, the price of agricultural plants is increasing.

Step 9. Because of China’s stance, its reputation among the international companies may take a hit, forcing them to leave the country.

Read more in Poita’s article Pressured into Neutrality: Nine Steps that Should Preclude China from Supporting Russia in Ukrainian.

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