Russia invaded Ukraine after Ukraine moved closer to NATO, the Western military alliance.
Russia stands in opposition to Western powers in this, does it have any allies of its own?
China and Russia have a long history of close ties, but how does China feel about the invasion of Ukraine?
Is China an ally of Russia?
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing. During the current conflict in Ukraine, the two countries have been opposing NATO expansion into former Soviet Union countries, which sparked the conflict in the first place.
Therefore, China and Russia are united against Western powers, particularly the United States and NATO, but their allyship is not unconditional.
There has been a long history of cooperation between the two countries, particularly when the United States is at risk.
Where does China stand on Ukraine?
China has yet to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, unlike other world powers like the United States and the UK.
Despite this, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that every country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “should be respected and protected” and that “Ukraine is no exception”.
According to Wang, “China is concerned about the developments in Ukraine”.
China is maintaining a relatively balanced position between the West and Russia, has not recognized Russia’s previous annexation of Crimea.
Will China join Russia in war?
China has strong ties to Russia, but it also has close ties to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s top trading partner is China, which buys a lot of military hardware.
A major part of China’s Belt and Road program has been Ukraine, which aims to build a modern version of the silk road that once linked east Asia and Europe.
China did, however, join Russia in opposing “further NATO expansion” and urging NATO to “abandon its ideological cold war approaches” in a joint statement on February 4th.
Wang stated the following at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend:
There must be an adaptation to the current situation. NATO is a product of the Cold War era.
China invades Taiwan
China may be watching closely how the West reacts to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to gain insight into how other powers will react if China invades Taiwan.
In a similar manner to the way Russia amassed military equipment and troops near Ukraine’s borders before invading, China has dispatched military aircraft and held war games to intimidate Taiwan.
Taiwan has a legal obligation to consider threats to the island as a “grave concern” because the US provides it with military hardware. However, that does not require military intervention.