Russia wants military assistance from China, China can also benefit from this deal
The public disclosure comes less than a month after the US Navy shot down a Chinese balloon that was allegedly being used for espionage purposes, further escalating the existing tensions between the US and China .
According to information made public by the Biden administration in late February 2023, China is considering sending arms, ammunition and drones to Russia. China’s military aid would directly support Russia’s war in Ukraine. The public disclosure comes less than a month after the US Navy shot down a Chinese balloon that was allegedly being used for espionage purposes, further escalating the existing tensions between the US and China .
The development comes at a time when Russia is facing loss of both life and property in its war on Ukraine. These setbacks have prompted Russia to seek help. Russia tried to obtain arms and other military support from allies such as North Korea and neighboring Belarus. Russia has also turned to neutral countries like India and China to whom it can sell its oil and gas and bring in more money. China has not publicly announced its decision to provide military assistance to Russia.
I am a scholar of international relations whose work focuses on the growing competition between the US and China. Based on my research, I’m sure Russia would welcome any assistance offered by China. China’s decision whether to engage in the Ukraine war will be carefully calculated, taking into account the potential long-term benefits, risks, and impact on Western powers. But I think China’s choice of whether or not to support Russia depends primarily on two things: how the Ukraine conflict will affect China’s overall development in world politics, and its interest in invading Taiwan.
China’s decision to provide massive amounts of military aid to a struggling army doesn’t come cheap. The US spent more than USD 75 billion on aid to Ukraine in 2022. But regardless of the cost of the war, China is considering supplying military hardware to Russia for a few reasons. Economically, China’s interests in Russia include money, energy and trade opportunities. During the Cold War, the US worked to increase the distance between the two countries. However, after the Cold War, Russia and China came closer and intertwined economically.
China has maintained pro-Russian neutrality since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. That is, China is officially neutral and not contributing to the conflict, but its government officials are still feeding Russia’s war narrative and propaganda, ignoring what Ukraine is telling the world. China has criticized Western intervention in the war. It has also proposed a peace plan for the conflict – which doesn’t actually call for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. So far, China has hesitated to send military aid to Russia.
Reversing this policy would be a departure from China’s previous policy of official neutrality. Russian success in Ukraine would be compatible with China’s goals of reshaping global politics and power, and could aid China’s own rise as an economic and military leader. In February 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. They issued a joint document on reshaping global politics.
The lengthy statement speaks to shared values and vision of a world without the US as a leader, in which China and Russia wield greater control and influence. The foreign ministers of China and Russia met on March 2, 2023, and the Chinese government issued a statement reiterating this point. It said that the two countries have maintained strong and stable development and set a new paradigm for major-country relations. ,
Political scientists and human rights scholars do not consider Russia or China to be democracies or politically independent. But both countries have hailed their own traditions of democracy and said they stand opposed to a world where the US offers its version of democracy and human rights as the only option. The Taiwan factor is another reason why China wants Russia to succeed in Ukraine as a Russian victory would give China more external support in any plans to annex Taiwan or other territories.
Taiwan is an island off the coast of China that claims independence, but China says it is just a breakaway province that it wants to regain control of. Had Russia won the Ukraine War sooner than planned, it could have paved the way for China to attempt a similar invasion of Taiwan. But this could not happen. Yet a prolonged Russia-Ukraine war could present a new kind of opportunity for China in Taiwan by diverting US money, military resources and attention away from the island.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang argued on March 7, 2023 that if the US sells arms to Taiwan, then what is the harm in China selling arms to Russia. Some critics say that with aid to Ukraine, it will be difficult for the US to defend Taiwan against any Chinese attempts to annex Taiwan. While a Chinese invasion of Taiwan appears unlikely in the short term – and some experts say such a move would be disastrous for China – both the US and China have vested interests in Taiwan and surrounding regions.
The US and China have taken recent steps to establish a greater military presence in the South China Sea region. China has increased the mobilization of military force around Taiwan. The US recently announced that it would deploy troops and military equipment to the Philippines, a strategic military base close to Taiwan. Western pressure Over the past few months, the Biden administration and other Western powers have warned China not to get involved in the Ukraine conflict.
In March 2023, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz publicly warned China that it would face consequences if it got involved. These efforts appear to be successful, given that China has not yet officially moved to support Russia. However, research has shown that countries intervene in conflicts when they believe their interests may be affected and when they can make a difference. This may be a factor that prompts China to become more involved in Russia’s fight.
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