China does not want to take a stand on Ukraine that could undermine Russia, said Scott Kennedy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
It does not appear that Beijing has provided any military assistance or violated the economic sanctions against Russia, he said.
“But they have not said no. And I think what the United States is trying to do is make sure that does not happen and that they just can not get a yes out of the Chinese or any kind promise,” he said. he to CNBC’s. “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.
Chairman Joe Biden spoke with his colleague Xi Jinping for almost two hours on Friday about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He warned China of a global backlash and “consequences” if Beijing helps Russia in its war against Ukraine.
“I think that means we will continue to see China, in an argument that they do not really need, apart from the fact that Xi Jinping simply can not stand to do anything that could get Putin to look bad, “Kennedy said.
On Saturday, China’s state media reported that Chinese Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China was on the right side of the story regarding the Ukraine crisis – and time will tell.
“We have always stood to maintain peace and oppose war,” Wang said. according to CGTN News.
Beijing will make its own assessment of the situation in an objective and fair way, he added.
“We will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and we will also oppose any baseless accusation or suspicion directed at China,” Wang said.
“Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Chinese policy is as clear as it could be. It’s just as clear as muddy water is what it is,” Kennedy said. “What they really need to do is take a firm stand on this.”
China should use its influence and put pressure on Russia to get to the negotiating table and withdraw its forces or at least accept a ceasefire, he added.
“I think the Chinese are in a real predicament, because no matter how this ends up on the battlefield, Putin will lose and Russia will lose,” he said, adding that it could test Beijing’s “friend without borders” position. with Moscow in the “predictable”. future.”
China has so far refrained from condemning Russia, and it has refused to call Russia’s attack on Ukraine an “invasion”.
Bert Hofman, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, said China is not putting much pressure on Russia at the moment.
“People think a pressure from China on Russia would help, it does not seem to be in the cards for now,” he told CNBC on Monday.
“Although they have expressed … the willingness to engage on the humanitarian side, the need for peace, but they have not yet taken the extra step to actually create the circumstances for it,” he noted.
Political consultancy Eurasia Group said at the weekend that tensions between the US and China would remain high and could rise, although continued diplomatic contact would limit the risk of serious miscalculations.
It added that US officials are deeply frustrated with China’s stance, believing that Beijing has “actively ignored US prayers and warnings – and it remains to be seen whether the direct message from Biden will change this.”
China is unlikely to provide military aid, but as Russia’s economic worries increase, “Beijing will be more likely to offer a financial lifeline, especially if it fears Putin’s regime’s survival,” its analysts said in a note.
Xi would also prefer to work more directly with Europe to deal with the Ukraine conflict, they said.
They added that an important watchdog is if “Xi engages European leaders in the coming days, which is likely, and it would be a positive sign that Beijing is separating US-China relations from efforts to quell the crisis.”