SOURCE BBC – While Western countries unite against Russia, its neighbour China is less condemnatory.
In a phone call on Friday, China’s President Xi Jinping told Vladimir Putin that China supports Russia in efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis via dialogue, Chinese state television CCTV reports.
The Ukraine-Russia crisis is posing a major challenge for China on many fronts.
The ever-closer diplomatic relationship between Russia and China could be seen at the Winter Games – with Putin coming to Beijing as one of only a handful of world leaders to attend.
Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry declined to call the Russian offensive an “invasion”.
Will China be Putin’s economic lifeline?
SOURCE ALJAZEERA – China could be an economic lifeline for Russia as it faces growing isolation and opprobrium on the international stage over its invasion of Ukraine.
As much of the international community rolls out sanctions against Moscow, Beijing has emerged as a key player with the potential to mitigate the economic damage and undermine the pressure campaign.
On Thursday, Chinese customs authorities announced the lifting of import restrictions on Russian wheat, which makes up more than one-quarter of the global supply.
Although the trade deal was sealed during talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in early February, the timing of the announcement – on the day Putin launched a full-scale military assault on its neighbour – was interpreted in some quarters as a deliberate attempt to undermine efforts to hold Moscow accountable.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday described the move as “simply unacceptable”, accusing Beijing of throwing a “lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they are invading another country”.
“That’s a signal of support,” Alicia García Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific at Natixis in Hong Kong, told Al Jazeera, referring to the easing of trade restrictions. “The other thing that China has done is to really make very clear that sanctions are ineffective and are not warranted.”
“The fact that they are going to undermine this pushback is already implicit, if not explicit, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ press conference yesterday,” García Herrero added.