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Putin’s aggression also shocks China – NRK Eurex – Foreign News & Documentaries

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In China, a generation lives in bomb shelters dug in the 1970s in gardens and parks. In Beijing, an underground neighborhood connected by tunnels has been built.

The station must be able to withstand a nuclear attack and ensure that the Chinese leadership will operate in a major war.

The city was not dug underground and temporary shelters to protect the country from the United States and the West, but from the Soviet Union.

Parts of these tunnels and rooms below the city are now part of the Beijing Metro, or sewers. Some remain and museums. The renovation has been closed since 2008, but the remains of this small community remind us that the relationship between Beijing and Moscow is anything but simple.

Relations with the West and NATO are not simple either.

Narrow line and high falling high

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order on February 24 to invade Ukraine put China in a difficult position. China has supported, and largely sold out to its own people, the accusation that NATO has provoked Russia. NATO expansion in the east is seen as a threat.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a provocateur. China’s leaders don’t like the idea of ​​it A comedian can become a boss It is especially funny.

The attack on Ukraine changed all of this from political games and rhetoric to deadly acts of war.

Media coverage: People read about the war in Ukraine in Chinese newspapers on a wall in Beijing.


Communication with Chinese citizens in Ukraine attests that China struggled to form an image of the Russian invasion.

When the attacks began, they asked the Chinese to stick Chinese flags in the path of their cars, so that the new rulers of Ukraine would understand which country they came from.

When the Russian advance met with real resistance, the Chinese Foreign Ministry told the Chinese in Ukraine to stay out of sight and stay indoors.

Shock in China too

China is closely watching Russia’s unanimous response to Russia. In particular, the strength of financial penalties.


Change: The TV in the shop window displays news from the war in Ukraine. In line with the shift in messaging from China’s leaders, the media are carefully changing the words they use about Russia’s attacks.

Photo: STR/AFP

China must, to a greater extent than it wishes, choose between the economic interests associated with the United States and Europe, and the security policy interests associated with Russia.

Putin’s aggression has shocked many in China. For a long time, China’s leaders have moved away from the word “invasion”. Now, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, said that China will contribute to the ceasefire. China says it will do everything in its power to prevent the killing of civilians.

At the United Nations, they could have voted against condemning Russia. They chose to abstain. In 2014, after the annexation of Crimea, they did the same. Now China’s concession can be interpreted as a partial victory for the West.

The reason is that during the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing a few weeks ago, Putin and Xi came up with a joint statement. The two said that there are no limits to the friendship between the two countries. There were no prohibited areas for cooperation.


Speak together: Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks before the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 28. The next day, Wang had a telephone meeting with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister.

Photo: Paul/Reuters

Three reasons for concern

There are three main reasons why Beijing is more shaken than it will admit. Two are short term, one long term:


It is impossible for Beijing not to see that Russia is now violating Ukraine. The cornerstone of China’s foreign policy is non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

complex country

China itself is a complex country to hold together. Putin’s recognition of the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk is problematic for Beijing.


Putin’s ambitions for a new, great Russia may quickly collide with those of China.

China’s leaders may also feel embarrassed. Putin waited to attack Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics. Next, China had to answer tough questions. What has the inner circle of power in Beijing learned about Putin’s plans? Putin came to the Olympics as the game’s highest-ranking guest of honor. What did Putin say to Xi?


Greetings by the President: Russian athletes walk during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on February 4th. From the stands they were greeted by their boss.

Photo: Evenia Novozinina/Reuters

according to The New York Times China is said to have shared US intelligence on Russian power-building with Putin. It was the United States that gave China the information. The hope was that President Xi could persuade Putin to take a step back.

China may have been led to believe that Putin was only playing political games. Perhaps they thought that he would accept Donetsk and Luhansk – problematic, but manageable, from the point of view of China.

Invasion of Ukraine Russian sports

Visited Beijing: Excellent for Olympic athletes 20 days before the invasion of Ukraine. There are many indications that Putin had already laid out his plan when he visited Beijing.

Photo: Sue Ogroki/AP

Feeling inferior in the old days

The war that Putin started gives China the experience that Russia is a country over which it has no influence. Even worse is the feeling that Moscow expects to have an influence on Beijing. A little like the old days. Many Chinese give it a sweet taste in the mouth.

China’s relations with Russia are complex. China is the most important exporting country to Russia. 5 percent of Chinese gas is supplied from Russia.

China could take some of the Russian gas that is not now being sold to Europe, but when they did the same after annexing Crimea in 2014, they negotiated the price.


Gas Connection: One of the new gas pipelines that can supply China with Russian gas. The lines running from Siberia to northeastern China are connected to the network that supplies Europe.

Photo: AP

On the other hand, Russia did not come close to being the most important export market for China. The European Union is much more important. The Russian economy is smaller than the economies of Canada and Italy.

Friendships can end

The founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 could not have taken place without the support of the Soviet Union. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Red China was Moscow’s largest international power. But the Communist takeover of China was also motivated by strong Chinese nationalism.

In the long run, China was too big to be submissive to Moscow. When Stalin died, Chairman Mao and the new Soviet leader Khrushchev did not set the tone. Beijing separated from Moscow.

It gave the United States room to play a role. The hall, which under President Xi and with China stronger and prouder, has been narrowed down.

Since coming to power in 2012, President Xi has cemented ties with authoritarian Russia. Yet Putin’s ambitions for a new, grand Russia are tunes that China will never dance to.


Market: Evening change at the Old Russian Market in Beijing. Merchants from both Russia and Ukraine do business with China here.

Photo: Andy Wong / AP

You won’t get to the brink

China has a long border with Russia. They think it is long enough as it is. They have their own political ambitions for Central Asia. There is nothing China wants less than a new Soviet Union.

China will not necessarily turn to the West and the United States. They are more likely to inflate the development of their weapons and high technology, and soon they are trying to become a power that does not need Russia nor the United States.

China will not condemn Moscow. They will not support financial sanctions, but they will be careful not to accept financial sanctions imposed by the West.

If China is clear in its communications, the EU and the US will also ignore “work accidents” where Beijing does not fully understand the sanctions. The United States and the European Union understand that they now have a new opportunity to forge a slightly closer relationship with China.


Declaration of Support: The Ukrainian flag is hoisted next to the British flag outside the British Embassy in Beijing.

Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

New opportunities in a crisis

For China, it is not a shame that the United States and NATO now have to spend more time, energy and resources on Russia. It could give China more room for consolidation in Asia Pacific.

The security policy picture has changed. It can turn out several ways, for everyone.

Germany now promises for the first time to spend more than 2 percent of its GDP on defence. The German economy, then, means that it gets a defense budget that is the size of Russia’s. German military power will make it easier for the United States to use resources in Asia.

Putin wanted to change global security policy when he ordered the invasion of Ukraine. The result may be different from what you imagine.

China is uneasy about what is happening. It is unacceptable to quote a saying from Mao’s time – because many Chinese still do – feel themselves on the rocks when they cross the river.

See also  Associated Press: A Chinese woman said she was held in a Chinese-run prison in Dubai

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