What China Is
Really Playing at in Ukraine
By Pepe Escobar
May 02, 2023:
Clearing House -- "SCF"
-- Imagine President Xi Jinping mustering
undiluted Taoist patience to suffer through a phone call with that warmongering
actor in a sweaty T-shirt in Kiev while attempting to teach him a few facts of
life – complete with the promise of sending a high-level Chinese delegation to
Ukraine to discuss “peace”.
more than meets the discerning eye obscured by this spun-to-death diplomatic
“victory” – at least from the point of view of NATOstan.
is inevitable: what’s the point of this phone call? Very simple: just business.
leadership is fully aware the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is the
un-dissociable double of an American direct war against the Belt and Road
recently, and since 2019, Beijing was the top trade partner for Kiev (14.4% of
imports, 15.3% of exports). China essentially exported machinery, equipment,
cars and chemical products, importing food products, metals and also some
Very few in
the West know that Ukraine joined BRI way back in 2014, and a BRI trade and
investment center was operating in Kiev since 2018. BRI projects include a 2017
drive to build the fourth line of the Kiev metro system as well as 4G installed
by Huawei. Everything is stalled since 2022.
Noble Agri, a
subsidiary of COFCO (China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation),
invested in a sunflower seed processing complex in Mariupol and the recently
built Mykolaiv grain port terminal. The next step will necessarily feature
cooperation between Donbass authorities and the Chinese when it comes to
rebuilding their assets that may have been damaged during the war.
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Beijing also tried to become heavily involved in the
Ukraine defense sector and even buy Motor Sich; that was blocked by Kiev.
So what we
have in Ukraine, from the Chinese point of view, is a trade/investment cocktail
of BRI, railways, military supplies, 4G and construction jobs. And then, the key
of neon used in the production of semiconductors was supplied, until recently,
by two Ukrainian companies; Ingas in Mariupol, and Cryoin, in Odessa. There’s no
business going on since the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO). That
directly affects the Chinese production of semiconductors. Bets can be made that
the Hegemon is not exactly losing sleep over this predicament.
represent value for China as a BRI crossroads. The war is interrupting not only
business but, in the bigger picture, one of the trade and connectivity corridors
linking Western China to Eastern Europe. BRI conditions all key decisions in
Beijing – as it is the overarching concept of Chinese foreign policy way into
explains Xi’s phone call, debunking any NATOstan nonsense on China finally
paying attention to the warmongering actor.
as BRI is the overarching bilateral relationship dictating Beijing’s
geopolitics: the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
transition to the meeting of Defense Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization (SCO) earlier this week in Delhi.
meeting in India was between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his
Chinese colleague Li Shangfu. Li was recently in Moscow, and was received by
Putin in person for a special conversation. This time he invited Shoigu to visit
Beijing, and that was promptly accepted.
add that every single player in the SCO and beyond, including nations that are
for the moment just observers or dialogue partners as well as others itching to
become full members, such as Saudi Arabia, paid very close attention to the
comes to the profoundly strategic Central Asian “stans”, that represents the six
feet under treatment for the Hegemon wishful thinking of using them in a Divide
and Rule scheme pitting Russia against China.
Shoigu-Shangfu also sent a subtle message to SCO members India and Pakistan –
stop bickering and in the case of Delhi, hedging your bets – and to full member
(in 2023) Iran and near future member Saudi Arabia: here’s where’s it at, this
the table that matters.
All of the
above also points to the increasing interconnection between BRI and SCO, both
under Russia-China leadership.
essentially an economic club – complete with its own bank, the NDB – and focused
on trade. It’s mostly about soft power. The SCO is focused on security. It’s
about hard power. Together, these are the two key organizations that will be
paving the multilateral way.
As for what
will be left of Ukraine, it is already being bought by Western mega-players such
as BlackRock, Cargill and Monsanto. Yet Beijing certainly does not count on
being left high and dry. Stranger things have happened than a future rump
Ukraine positioned as a functioning trade and connectivity BRI partner.
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