Is China making or fake overtures against the United States?
Is China making or fake overtures against the United States?

Is China making or fake overtures against the United States?

NEW DELHI – Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said on Friday that the United States and China should not “close” a cultural door between the countries as economic sanctions against neighboring Russia are tightened.

“When the two sides opened the door to each other [50 years ago]they should not close it, let alone decouple, ”Li said, referring to the 50th anniversary of US-China diplomatic relations, which began with then-US President Richard Nixon’s trip to Beijing in 1972.

In response to several conciliatory statements by Chinese leaders since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Li accepted that Washington and Beijing have differing views on the crisis unfolding in Eastern Europe.

“We believe that cooperation should be mainstream because world peace and development depend on it,” Li told reporters at the conclusion of an annual session of parliament. “Although we are market competitors on economic and trade fronts, it should be benign and equal.”

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference following the conclusion of the closing session of the National People’s Congress of China (NPC) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 11, 2022.

Chinese President Xi Jinping8th March said his country is ready to “work actively” with the international community to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

Pass an olive branch or protect interests?

However, some observers say that Beijing may be prosecuting for economic and political reasons.

“I think President Xi and the Chinese leadership are a little uneasy about what they see in Ukraine,” the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns, testified to U.S. lawmakers recently. “They did not foresee the significant difficulties the Russians would run into.”

Burns said China was also concerned about the geopolitical consequences of the Russian invasion, including “by the way [Russian President] Vladimir Putin has driven Europeans and Americans much closer together. ”

FILE - Russian, left and Chinese flags sit on a table before a signing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 8, 2018.

FILE – Russian, left and Chinese flags sit on a table before a signing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 8, 2018.

Some analysts say Beijing is trying to buy time until it is able to come up with the appropriate political response to the changed situation. Although the sanctions are aimed at Russian trade, they will have a far-reaching impact on Chinese companies and banks trading in Russian entities.

“China does not want to offend the West at this time. But it is unlikely to change its long-term approach to the United States,” Alexander Sandkamp, ​​an assistant professor and expert on Chinese economics at Kiel University in Germany, told VOA.

Chinese officials believe there will be no slowdown in fierce economic competition and even diplomatic friction with the United States, sources said. But they also see enough room for cooperation because the world’s two largest economies would try to complement each other in business and other areas.

Scott Kennedy, senior adviser and chairman of Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it would be wrong to think that China is changing its strategy toward the United States at this point.

“While Beijing has sought to differentiate itself from the most brutal consequences of Russia’s invasion, it has not joined the ranks of the Western alliance in direct opposition to the invasion itself,” he said.

“China still believes that Russia has legitimate security issues that have not been addressed,” he added. “It is still cooperating with Russia to spread disinformation, and it is still strongly against Western sanctions against Russia. Until it adapts to these areas, talking about Beijing adjusting its position towards the United States will be pure speculation. ”

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