When Russian troops landed in Ukraine, officials in Beijing were ablaze at any suggestion that they were betraying a core principle of China’s foreign policy – sovereignty. is impregnable – to shield Moscow.
They wouldn’t even call it an invasion. “Russian operation” is a fancy description. “Current situation” is a different situation. And China’s leader, Xi Jinping, says his stance on the crisis is fully unified.
“Sudden changes in the eastern regions of Ukraine have been attracting the attention of the international community,” Xi told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, on a call Friday. , according to a China’s official summary.
“China’s basic position is to consistently respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, and uphold the mission and principles of the United Nations Charter,” Xi said.
Outside China’s official media room, however, few seem to suspect that Russia’s war has placed its Beijing counterpart in a serious bind, including its position on rights. sovereignty of countries.
On the other hand, China has long said that the United States and other Western powers regularly trample on other countries, especially in recent times during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. China’s message is that it is a real defender of sovereignty, especially for poorer countries.
On the other hand, Putin expects Xi to accept, if not support, the invasion. So far, Mr. Xi’s government has gone along, placing responsibility for Europe’s worst war in decades against US hubris. China also shied away from Russia’s condemnation at the United Nations.
Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister and former diplomat, “the focused attack on the United States as a global power since Xi Jinping came to power is to accuse it of continuing to violate violate the principles of the United Nations Charter on national sovereignty”. in China, said in a phone interview. “This is the torpedo that argues the feeder.”
Experts and former diplomats say China will continue to take verbal actions to try to balance its solidarity with Russia with its reverence for national sanctity. -government.
If the war is extensive and prolonged, the costs for China to weather a deadly crisis could rise.
Beijing’s stance has angered Western European leaders and angered Americans with China. Asian and African countries traditionally close to Beijing have condemned Russia’s actions. One of the main currencies of Chinese diplomacy – which claims to dedicate sovereign rights to all countries – could depreciate.
Adam Ni, an analyst for the newspaper Chinese Neicana news report on China’s current affairs.
“It undermines China’s longstanding foreign policy principles and makes it harder to present itself as a responsible power,” he said. Ni said it would also “be seen by the United States and EU member states as a duplication and complicity with Russia’s aggressive actions, which will likely cost Beijing.”
Chinese media unanimously held the government’s position on the war, accusing the United States of provoking Russia by leaving open the possibility that Ukraine might join NATO.
“China believes that the main cause of this war is that the United States has not respected Russia’s security for a long time,” Xuewu Gu, Director of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Bonn in Germany. “In that sense, China considers this war a war of self-defence by Russia, so of course they wouldn’t describe it as an invasion.”
Privately, some Chinese scholars have shared doubts about Mr. Xi hugging Mr. Putin. And on the Chinese Internet, some users have strongly questioned China’s position on the Ukraine battlefield with the long-standing view that countries should shape their own destiny.
“Ukraine is an independent, sovereign country and if they want to join NATO or the EU, that is their freedom and no one else has the right to interfere.” a comment on friday on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media service.
More than most countries, China supports the view that national sovereignty prevails over other concerns, including human rights standards. The modern concept of China’s sovereignty – “zhuquan” in Chinese – evolved in the 19th century when Western powers subdued the Qing rulers.
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“There is a great deal of insistence on an adequate concept of sovereignty and it is typical of the colonial or semi-colonial environment of the Third World,” said Ryan Mitchell, a law professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, on how such concepts develop in China. “That remains true to this day.”
Beijing’s muscular conception of the extent of its claim to sovereignty has become one of the main drivers – and trouble spots – of China policy.
Beijing has maintained it Taiwan, self-governing island that has never been ruled by the Communist Party of China, must eventually be unified with China, even if armed force is necessary. Beijing has made claims to islands and waters in the South China Sea. It has also been locked in clashes with India over disputed border regions.
In domestic policy, the Chinese government also focuses on sovereignty. When authorities bring dissidents to trial in secret, they deny requests for access or information by invoking “judicial rights.” When China’s internet censorship is criticized, officials invoke China’s right to defend its “cyber-sovereignty”.
Mr. Rudd, a former Australian prime minister and now president of the Asia Association, said that in meetings with Chinese diplomats, the word often comes up.
“The whole concept of non-interference and respect for national sovereignty is not only an aesthetic principle, but also an operational principle of the Chinese system internally,” he said.
Chinese diplomats will be busy explaining how that aligns with their position on Ukraine.
That can be hard, but they take some practice. When Russian forces took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, China tried to strike a balance. It abstinence The United Nations Security Council resolution calls on states not to recognize Russia’s claim to the area, but they also do not officially recognize Russia’s claim. Chinese leaders also try to stand between positions after Russian forces seized territory in Georgia in 2008.
This time, however, Xi has leaned more toward China than toward Russia. He and Mr. Putin met in Beijing Winter Olympics start in early February, and issued a Joint statement declared that their countries’ friendship had “no limits”.
Susan Shirk, a former deputy assistant secretary of state who is now leading the charge, said: “After that statement with close ties to Putin, the United States and others were determined to punish China for enabling Russian invasion. China Center of the 21st Century at the University of California San Diego.
“But it’s also harder for China to signal to the world that it doesn’t support Russia’s move,” she said. “It looks like Putin has succeeded with Xi.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/world/asia/china-russia-ukraine-sovereignty.html Russia Invades Ukraine Tests China’s ‘Sovereign’ Rhetoric