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China’s credibility is at stake if Beijing helps Russia in the Ukraine war

According to one political analyst, China risks paying a “high reputational cost” if it decides to support Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and America, said that even if China wanted to bail out Russia – financially or economically – its ability to do so was very limited.

“Most of Russia’s exposure, China’s exposure to the international financial system is still in US dollars – not in RMB and Chinese currency. [China] It’s going to cost a pretty high reputation cost to do that,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday.

On Monday, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan hosted a “tense” seven-hour meeting with China’s top foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi in Rome.

At the meeting, Mr. Sullivan told Chinese officials that the US was concerned that Beijing might try to help Russia ease global sanctions. Trip to the middle report that Moscow has asked China to help provide military equipment for the invasion of Ukraine, including surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles and drones.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Victory Day parade marking the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday denied such reports of Russia’s claims and called them malicious “disinformation”.

“The top priority right now is for all sides to exercise restraint, de-escalate the situation instead of adding fuel to the fire, and work towards a diplomatic settlement rather than escalate the situation further,” Zhao said in a statement. Regular press conference in Beijing.

Russia ‘state of pariah’

The United States, along with Ukraine and its Western allies, “won information warfare“against Russia, Daly said.

“Valdimir Putin is… the bad guy in the eyes of the world,” he said, and Moscow is rapidly becoming a “pariah nation.” Daly added that China needs to “ask itself if that’s the aspect it wants to be in”.

“China announced on Feb. 4 that they stand with Russia. But Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran – this is not really the international club most Chinese aspire to be. part. And circumstances are pushing China further in that direction. So there’s a reputational risk,” he noted.

The most shocking development will be the agreement of China to provide military equipment or even lethal weapons to Russia …

Yun Sun, senior co-director and co-director of the East Asia Program and director of the China Program at Stimson, thinks the issue is likely to raise more questions at this point. Center.

“There’s very little information on what we’re really talking about in terms of military assistance,” she told CNBC on Tuesday. “There is also the question of whether Beijing is actually providing those assistance or is Beijing just showing goodwill,” she added.

The role of China can create a balance

However, political observers believe that China’s move to provide any kind of military or economic support to Russia could be a substitute game and lead to far-reaching geopolitical consequences. .

Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said on Monday it “still believes – with moderate confidence – that China is not capable of directly supporting Russia’s invasion of this extent, as it is trying to demonstrate neutrality in the conflict.”

A key point to watch in the coming days is whether China will respond to Russia’s request for help in its invasion of Ukraine, the analysts said in a note.

“The most shocking development will be China agreeing to supply military equipment or even lethal weapons to Russia, which will help Beijing proactively side with Moscow in the first conflict,” they said. first”.

This development will soon lead to US and EU sanctions and will create a lasting geopolitical rift between China and the West, including pressures for economic decoupling. more profoundly.”

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