China’s support for war in Ukraine remains vague after meeting with Russia
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met at a summit in Uzbekistan on Thursday to discuss further relations as conflict in Ukraine shifts to Russia’s potential loss
The two countries have established a sort of alliance since the war began in Ukraine in February. However, during the televised meeting, Xi made no direct comments in support of, or against, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
During the summit, Putin acknowledged that China may have doubts about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, which The New York Times called a “notable, if cryptic admission” that China may not be in full support of the invasion.
“We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. We understand your questions and concerns in this regard,” Putin said, according to CNN.
Xi stayed notably vague in his statements throughout the summit, focusing more on the greater good for the world, rather than expressing explicit disdain for the West, as Putin did.
“China is willing to work with Russia to play a leading role in demonstrating the responsibility of major powers, and to instill stability and positive energy into a world in turmoil,” Xi said, per Al Jazeera.
He went on to state that China plans to “work with Russia to extend strong mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests.”
In a firm statement containing hints of an alliance against Western values, Putin said, “We jointly stand for the formation of a just, democratic and multipolar world order based on international law and the central role of the U.N., and not on some rules that someone has come up with and is trying to impose on others, without even explaining what it’s about.”
A complicated relationship
Since sanctions against Russia were imposed earlier this year, China has become a major trade partner for the country, exporting goods and even buying record levels of oil from Russia this summer, per Reuters.
However, China has not provided Russia with any weapons since the invasion began, likely due to threats of withdrawn support from the United States. In June, the U.S. Commerce Department added five Chinese companies to a trade blacklist, due to allegations of supporting Russia’s military.
The U.S. has warned China that any direct support of Russia’s military will result in consequences, and even sanctions, according to Reuters. These alleged threats could be a potential reason for Xi’s neutral statements at the summit on Thursday.