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China's relations with Russia moving from cool to chilly?

27.09.2022 23:00
Both US officials and some Chinese commentators believe China is far from warming to the war against Ukraine.  
Looking beyond Russia? Xi Jinping and Putin
Looking beyond Russia? Xi Jinping and PutinPhoto: PAP/SERGEJ BOBYLEV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL

The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on September 26, "We have seen nothing as of yet, at least, to indicate that the PRC [China] is taking a different approach when it comes to security assistance, when it comes to efforts to systematically help Russia evade sanctions. But we’re continuing to watch."

In the same statement, Price also avoided taking a clear stance on Taiwan, repeating the US official position of "One China" but also saying that the US has no position on Taiwan's sovereignty.

In other developments, on 25 September India and China at the United Nations appealed for a peaceful settlement to the war in Ukraine.

Mu Chunshan, the Beijing-based journalist for the Washington-based magazine on international relations in Asia, The Diplomat, goes a step further. He suggests that Chinese public opinion is moving against Russia and that this may be as significant in identifying China's position as statements from its leaders and other world leaders.

Mu Chunshan explains that Russia's intention to annex parts of Ukraine with artificial referenda will ring alarm bells for the Chinese: "the news that Russia will hold referendums in Ukraine to annex territory has made some Chinese wary. This reminded them of what they learned in Chinese textbooks: More than 70 years ago, Russia inked a similar referendum in Mongolia, which carved off part of China’s territory. One netizen’s comment on the news represents the mainstream opinion: “It seems the Russians have not changed after so many years.”"

Sources: US State Department website, PAP, The Diplomat