The Ukrainian diplomat spoke about the possible development of relations between the United States, China and Russia.
Before the expected visit of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, a Chinese spy balloon was shot down over US territory. Was it just an accident or was Beijing deliberately escalating?
The Charter97.org talked about this with Alexander Khara, Ukrainian diplomat and political scientist, expert of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation:
– China does not want to escalate. On the contrary, it is trying to save its face and to eventually obtain predictable and stable relations that would allow solving both domestic problems and promoting foreign policy.
It is clear that this balloon they saw, most likely had spy equipment, and it was not a provocation, but a common practice. You see, at that moment it turned out that it was noticed and then there was a whole domestic drama related to what to do with it. Democrats, especially US President Joe Biden, have been criticized for failing to protect US citizens.
I can say that the United States used balloons of this type to monitor the USSR in the 50s and 60s. Then the air defence system was already more or less powerful and the Americans did not dare to risk their pilots. This is a completely ordinary practice in the conduct of intelligence activities. It assumes that a large amount of equipment will be used for a long period of time. This is not a one-time action.
We have seen that the United States acted very wisely in this situation. On the one hand, Blinken postponed his visit in order to show his absolute disagreement with what happened. On the other hand, Biden did not pay any attention to this moment at all in his speech. He left this topic aside.
After all, he is also interested in several things: not escalating the conflict with China, reducing the US dependence on China and strengthening its allies. We are talking about Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Australia first of all. The US is trying to attract India more on its side.
In my opinion, no one wants conflict. Not China, nor the US. There is a struggle for the ideology of relations between the two countries. Beijing is even more interested in avoiding conflict because it will suffer economic losses. He has already lost access to many Western technologies.
For example, Taiwan, the Netherlands, the United States and other countries have already applied stricter export control rules and restrictions. This is bad for China, of course. They will not be able to replace these technologies and equipment. First of all, they need it to develop their economy, as well as the defence industry. The defence industry needs micro-chip, let's say.
– Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow is scheduled for the spring of 2023. The Wall Street Journal also writes that China is helping Russia in the war by supplying equipment. Is Beijing turning from neutrality towards Kremlin support and escalation?
– I can say that China was not neutral. They were just paying lip service. On the one hand, the Chinese are fuming furious with Putin for attacking Ukraine. The war entailed a number of negative consequences: a technological setback, the rallying of NATO, and so on. These developments are not beneficial to China and play against it.
Let's take a look, even Donald Trump waged trade wars and began to turn the American war machine with funding to counter China. Biden continued this business, but now the Europeans, who previously did not want a confrontation with China, wanted to trade with him on his side. After Putin's invasion of Ukraine, they realized that these authoritarian regimes are the same. We saw similar trends in China: changes in the Constitution. Xi Jinping is the de facto one ruler governs China and has dismantled the remnants of some internal opposition. The country is being militarized. Last year, we saw a large number of incursions in Taiwan territory. Xi Jinping said that they could take it back with force and weapons.
Roughly speaking, all these things are connected with Putin's invasion. If there had been no invasion, then there would have been no confrontation, unification around the United States, in the first place, the turn of European allies, as well as partner allies in the region.
– How can relations between Russia and China develop?
– Xi Jinping cannot leave Putin. He understands that if the Russian Federation loses and disappears as an important factor, then all the resources of the West and the United States will be directed to China. Xi Jinping and China will covertly support Russia. There is still no evidence that any Chinese weapons were transferred to the Russian Federation. But technologically and financially they do, buying oil and assets, this will be happening.
China has never been neutral or uninvolved. However, Beijing does not want an escalation in relations. The largest Chinese companies that supply micro-chips in the iPhones and other Western companies do not want to be subject to sanctions and lose their money and access to markets. Therefore, China will be balancing and supporting Putin, but not giving him everything that the owner of the Kremlin would like to have.
The West has fears that Russia and China might form some kind of alliance. These fears are based on the misunderstanding of Russia and China. Russia fancies itself a great country opposing America. It needs resources, but she considers herself sovereign and is not going to give this sovereignty to anyone.
Likewise China. It understands that it has the resources, prospects and opportunities in terms of military, political and economic growth in this century. They certainly do not want to tie their hands with the stupid Fuhrer of the Russian world, who acted extremely recklessly and impulsively. Therefore, there will be no strategic alliance.
Yes, the Chinese will continue to covertly support Russia, but not as much as Putin would like it.