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MOSCOW, March 17. /ITAR-TASS/. How is China’s attitude to the Ukrainian events and the referendum in Crimea to be interpreted — as defiant non-interference (if Washington is to be believed) or as support for Moscow? Many Russian experts are inclined to opt for the latter. Analysts believe that a Western economic embargo against Russia will only intensify Russia’s economic cooperation with China.
On Saturday, China abstained in the UN Security Council voting on the US-produced Ukrainian resolution. Unlike Russia it did not oppose the proposal, yet it did not approve of it like other members. Preparing a draft resolution at the Security Council at this particular stage would only lead to confrontation and complicate the situation, China’s envoy Liu Jieyi explained his country’s stance, adding China had always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.
Many experts say China’s position on the Crimean issue stems from Beijing’s long-standing support for the territorial integrity principle in the light of its complicated relationships with a number of its regions.
“China has never doubted the principle of territorial integrity, for it has to resist separatist in Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan,” chief researcher at the Institute of the Far Eastern Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Yakov Berger is quoted by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.
Russia’s isolation at any cost is now Washington’s key aim. According to American analysts, China is sitting on the fence, reluctant to support either side. Nonetheless, the US has failed to lure China away from Russia, let alone involve it into a yet-to-be created informal anti-Russian alliance. Last week China warned about dangers behind sanctions against Russia. They might lead to retaliatory actions and unwind a spiral of unpredictable consequences. We see no reasons for imposing sanctions, says China’s Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde.
Furthermore, Beijing sees the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych by the opposition with the Western assistance as a dangerous precedent. In this connection, many Russian experts point to the rhetoric in Chinese pro-government media. For instance, the chief paper of the Communist Party of China, Renmin Ribao, presented the US as a country mired in Cold War stereotypes.
The Xinhua agency has reported recently Western strategy aimed to bring to power in Ukraine a so-called democratic and pro-Western government has completely failed. It wreaked chaos, goes the comment, which the West has neither opportunities nor wisdom to straighten out. In clearing up the mess the Western countries created in that country’s backyard Russian leaders again demonstrated their reliability and shrewdness in planning and implementing efficient responsive actions, the agency said.
“China’s stance is undoubtedly not a neutral one, it is tantamount to support for Moscow,” believes chief researcher at the Institute of the Far Eastern Studies, Deputy Director of the Russia-China center Sergei Uyanaev. “China has its own view of the global balance of forces, and the events in Ukraine, seen from this perspective potentially violate its interests, primarily because of a possible NATO advance eastwards,” he told Itar-Tass in an interview.
As for Beijing’s cautiousness in relation to the referendum in Crimea, this, the expert believes, corresponds to thousand-years-old traditions of Chinese diplomacy - “do not showboat”, to put it in a nutshell.
“They do not officially approve of the referendum in Crimea, as they do not want complications, but via unofficial sources such as public diplomacy they make clear hints they are ready to support Russia,” said Uyanaev.
The expert added China took a similar view when Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared independence. “This tacit approval is even more overt now,” he said. Some officially recognized Chinese media say in full seriousness that in case of economic sanctions against Russia it would be in China’s best interests to help Russia, Uyanaev added.
“China’s position, neutral on the face of it|, is equivalent to support for Moscow,” senior researcher of the Centre for Asia and the Middle East at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Ivetta Frolova told Itar-Tass.
China will obviously support Russia, should it face sanctions, the expert believes: “The RISS has recently held an international conference with the participation of leading Chinese experts, and they said now is the best time for the development of Russian-Chinese relations.
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