June 22, 2024

Ukraine’s criticism of China and its stance on Russia could backfire


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s very public criticism of China over its relationship with Russia and cool stance towards a forthcoming peace summit could find yourself backfiring on Kyiv, analysts say.

Speaking on the Shangri-La Dialogue discussion board in Singapore final Sunday, Zelenskyy unleashed his frustration at China’s place over the struggle between Russia and Ukraine, accusing Beijing of helping Moscow to undermine a forthcoming peace summit in Switzerland by pressuring different nations to not attend.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives on the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 1, 2024.

Edgar Su | Reuters

China firmly denied the accusations, with its Foreign Ministry stating that its place on each Russia and Ukraine was “just and fair” and that its choice to skip the June 15-16 peace summit was primarily based on the truth that it didn’t have the “equal participation” of either side as Russia was attending.

China analysts say Zelenskyy’s outburst was a dangerous transfer that could antagonize and alienate Beijing — and push it nearer to Russia.

China “would prefer to cast itself as the role of benevolent peace maker, and wants the Ukrainian leadership to affirm that role, that relationship, and that story,” Astrid Nordin, the Lau chair of Chinese International Relations at King’s College London, instructed CNBC.

“The risk to Ukraine of refusing to play the role of recipient of Chinese benevolence is that Chinese leaders might change the script to one where China emphasises a role for itself as a staunch bulwark against Western hegemony, hand-in-hand with Putin,” she famous.

“Zelenskyy has little to gain from positioning himself in a way that encourages Chinese leaders to emphasise the latter story over the former,” she stated, noting that China could simply sign a change of coronary heart towards Kyiv with the “harsh treatment of Ukraine and entrenched support for Putin.” 

Ukraine fails to woo China

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping bid farewell on the finish of talks in Beijing, China May 16, 2024. 

Mikhail Metzel | Via Reuters

China has introduced itself as a impartial occasion, nonetheless, saying it is keen to dealer a peace deal between the fighters and set out its personal 12-point “peace plan” for Ukraine.

China confirmed final week that it might not ship a delegation to the Ukraine peace summit set to be held on the Bürgenstock resort above Lake Lucerne, saying the event does not meet its expectations that both Russia and Ukraine take part. Russia stated it might not attend the summit, and has therefore not been invited. It says such a gathering with out its presence is meaningless and certain to fail.

Beijing’s stance prompted the offended backlash from Zelenskyy, who accused Russia and China of contriving to sabotage the summit by utilizing their affect to dissuade different nations from attending the occasion, one which it hopes will bolster worldwide support for its personal “peace formula.”

Addressing delegates on the Shangri-La protection discussion board, Zelenskyy stated “Russia, using Chinese influence on the region, using Chinese diplomats, does everything to disrupt the peace summit,” in response to a translation of his remarks. He didn’t give particular examples to substantiate his claims.

“Regrettably, it is unfortunate that such a big, independent, powerful country as China is an instrument in the hands of Putin,” he added.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping through cellphone line, in Kyiv on April 26, 2023.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

China denied the accusations, with Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning saying “hegemonism and power politics are not China’s diplomatic style.” “There is no such thing as China pressuring other countries,” she stated, including that Beijing’s place on the talks is “open and transparent.” 

Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Program on the German Marshall Fund of the United States, instructed CNBC that if Zelenskyy criticized China “in the belief that it would result in changes in Beijing’s policy, I doubt it will have that effect.”

Rejecting China’s declare to be a impartial occasion, Glaser believed China’s choice to not attend the summit as a substitute mirrored “the priority accorded to China’s relationship with Russia and especially Xi Jinping’s relationship with Vladimir Putin.”

With us, or towards us?

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks throughout a gathering with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy within the Oval Office on the White House in Washington, U.S., December 12, 2023. 

Leah Millis | Reuters

Jie Yu, senior analysis fellow on China at the London-based suppose tank Chatham House, stated Zelenskyy’s feedback towards China particularly displayed “his dissatisfaction on a closer China-Russia alignment rather than giving up Beijing as a whole.”

“[The] Ukrainians need as many countries as possible to contribute to its post-conflict reconstruction process. China might well play a key part of the reconstruction given the existing investments in Ukraine made in the last two decades. Not only China, but several emerging economies, such as India, South Africa and Brazil have all chosen a very similar position as Beijing did.”

India is predicted to ship a consultant to the peace summit however no senior officers; Brazil will skip the occasion; and South Africa’s attendance has not been confirmed.

The Ukrainian authorities, she stated, “does not want to turn them away completely,” however the threat is that Beijing sees the peace summit as “turning into an occasion of accusing any countries who are not on the side with Ukraine.”



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