Why China’s Ukraine balancing act might be tilting in Putin’s favor

By | February 22, 2023

NBC News reports:

A flurry of European diplomatic activity over Russia’s war in Ukraine has offered a stark contrast this week: While President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv, one of China’s most senior diplomats was heading to Moscow.

Wang Yi, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s senior foreign policy adviser, gave one of the strongest indications yet of Russia and China’s strengthening ties on Wednesday.

“We are ready to deepen our strategic partnership,” he said according to Reuters. “Other countries cannot put pressure on our relations,” Wang added as he met with President Vladimir Putin, who said he was looking forward to a visit by Xi Jinping.

The comments will feed fears that Western backing for Ukraine will be matched by China doubling down on its bet on the Kremlin. Beijing has been engaged in a delicate balancing act, experts told NBC News, but may find that increasingly strained as the conflict moves into its second year. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports:

It would be a “red line” for the European Union if China sends arms to Russia, the EU’s foreign policy chief said Monday.

Josep Borrell’s warning came two days after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “deep concern” that China was considering providing potentially “lethal assistance” to Russia for its war against Ukraine.

Recalling a meeting he held on Saturday with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi, Borrell told reporters: “I expressed our strong concern about China providing arms to Russia. I asked him not to do that, and expressing not only our concern, but the fact that for us, it would be a red line in our relationship.

“He told me that they’re not going to do it, that they don’t plan to do it,” Borrell said, adding: “But we will remain vigilant.” [Continue reading…]

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