China may be nearly 6,000 kilometers from eastern Ukraine. But it may be the biggest winner from the Ukraine crisis.
The Chinese government has watched as Russia helps separatists in eastern Ukraine. But the government has yet to protest the Russian moves.
In March, China made an unusual move. The United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Russia’s annexation of Crimea. But China did not join other nations in support of the resolution.
Some experts say China’s decision not to support the measure may show it is working with Russia.
Artyom Lukin is the deputy director of the School of Regional and International Studies at Far Eastern Federal University in Russia. He wrote earlier this year about China’s unwillingness to join Western countries in taking action against Russia for its annexation of Crimea. He said China’s position should be seen as nothing other than neutrality in the Ukraine crisis. He said that China would expect Russia to remain neutral about Chinese actions in East Asia and the Western Pacific.
Robert Daly heads the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States. The Kissinger Institute is part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Daly says the Ukraine crisis helps China because it takes attention away from China’s conflicts with ethnic groups like Tibetans and Uighers.
He says the crisis is also good for China because it forces the United States to spend time on the security needs of its European allies. And it keeps the United States from spending time and effort on its four-year-old “pivot to Asia.” Some Chinese felt threatened by the U.S. decision to send more diplomatic, economic and military forces to East Asia.
Andrew Kuchins is the director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. In his words, “events in Ukraine, Iraq, (and) Syria…are the latest major events that distract the United States from carrying out the rebalance to the East.”
He says the Ukraine crisis may help China and Russia grow closer. He says Russia may stop opposing China’s territorial claims so that China will support Russia’s actions.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Words in the News
win– v. to gain a victory; to defeat another or others in a competition, election or battle
protest – v. to speak against; to object
condemn – v. to say a person or action is wrong or bad
neutral – adj. not supporting one side or the other in a dispute
crisis – n. an extremely important time when something may become much better or worse; a dangerous situation