China sees situation in Ukraine as an opportunity to review relations with the West - expert

  • 2022-03-02
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - China sees the events in Ukraine as an opportunity to increase its role and review relations with the United States and Europe, Una Aleksandra Berzina-Cerenkova, the head of the Asia Program of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, told LETA.

The expert revealed that no condolences from China regarding Ukraine can be expected, but it can be seen that China's position has been restrained. "China is in a difficult situation at the moment - it has to show support for Russia, but it also does not want Russia to draw them into this conflict," says Berzina-Cerenkova. An example, according to the expert, is China's argument about the Donbass, which could also be beneficial in regards to the Taiwan issue. "This is an opportunity for China to 'restart' relations with the West, showing a calculation based on realism."

Berzina-Cerenkova states that, on the one hand, we see that China does not condemn Russia. "China's foreign ministry says Russia's concerns about the security architecture in Europe are valid, but China's international media do not use the name of the so-called Luhansk People's Republic, but call it Luhansk," says Berzina-Cerenkova.

The foreign policy researcher thinks it's time for China to show the West where it can be useful - by refraining at the UN Security Council, China is looking for where it can gain something. "Crimea is not recognized by China either. China manages everything that relates to their territory very carefully, because one of their central beliefs is absolute sovereignty - everything within our borders is under our control," says Berzina-Cerenkova. "This is also the case in Ukraine - China believes that national sovereignty must be respected in particular, without mentioning Ukraine in the media headlines."

The expert thinks that if China suddenly chooses to side with Russia, there would be no comprehensive sanctions. "Given the way sanctions are imposed, sanctions could only be applied in the case of China's active action against Ukraine. Supporting Russia just by words would not lead to sanctions,'' she said.