The fierceness and unity of western sanctions against Russia will likely “terrify” the Chinese Government, a Professor of Asian Studies has told Newstalk.
China has neither endorsed nor condemned the war and abstained on resolutions in the UN Security Council relating to Ukraine. President Xi has called for “maximum restraint” and claimed that he was “pained to see the flames of war reignited in Europe”. However, Beijing has also said that Moscow’s "legitimate security concerns" should be taken seriously.
US intelligence believes that the Kremlin has asked China for military assistance and Washington has warned Beijing that there would be “consequences” if they cooperated.
America has been, “communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.
"We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world.”
The Chinese Government accused the US of, “spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions".
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However, UCC Professor Kiri Paramore said China would be very concerned about the unity of the west on the Ukraine issue and the likely precedent it would set in the event that China decided to invade Taiwan:
“I think they’d be quite terrified with the force that’s been demonstrated in the response from Europe as well as the United States against Russia,” Professor Paramore said.
“If we can believe what we’re being told in the media, the Russian economy is being shut down by these sanctions. Well, if Europe and America can shut down the Russian economy like that - a country as big as [that].
“Obviously, China’s economy is bigger than Russia’s but China needs to get most of its resources over the Pacific, through the South China Sea, by ship. It would be much easier to close China down strategically than it is Russia.
“So if the west is prepared to accept the pain and put this much pressure onto Russia economically as we are doing, that’s salutary I think.”
Main image: Washington DC, US. 25th Sep, 2015. Chinese President Xi Jinping jokes with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House September 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. Picture by: Alamy.com