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Why is China reluctant to lead mediation between Russia and Ukraine?

As the Ukrainian crisis prolongs, some countries are calling on China to play a leading role in ending the war soon.Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba He urged China to use its influence to thwart Russia’s invasion of its own country. EU Foreign Policy Officer Josep Borrell China has suggested that it is better suited to play such a role than other major powers. Mediate Between Russia and Ukraine.

There are good reasons why China should be an honest intermediary in this crisis. In particular, China has suffered a decline in its international image in recent years due to controversial policies and its decisive diplomacy in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The peace of Europe, which enhances China’s global status, also contributes to China’s economic stability.

In the early 2000s, China played such a leading role in helping ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula by hosting a Six-Party Talks to denuclearize North Korea.

China has been doing telephone and video diplomacy with the president since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Xi Jinping And the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi China seems ready to work with other countries to tackle this humanitarian crisis.

However, China was urged to play the mediator. Despite this week’s announcement, it is still reluctant to play a major leading role in mediation due to major internal and external constraints.

First of all, conflicts are occurring not only between Russia and Ukraine, but also between Russia, the United States and the West in general.Western leaders and the media have a dispute Democracy and dictatorshipAnd China is conveniently included in a tyranny camp.

The disappointing state of relations with the western part of China, especially the United States, hardly wants China to be deeply involved now. Russia is the only friendly to China among the major nations when the hostile western block is countering the rise of China. Under the current international situation, the best things we can expect from China are the distance from Russia’s invasion of the United Nations and moral support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. Far from abandoning Russia for its own benefit, China is unlikely to move further.

Second, it is a politically sensitive moment in China. Except for the big turmoil, Xi Jinping will be the third term as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the third term as President of China at the 20th Party Convention this fall. Spring 2023. He seems to have strong support within the party and does not require additional qualifications from the achievement of foreign policy. Mediation in a nasty crisis is not guaranteed to succeed, and failure to mediate only reduces Xi Jinping’s position at home. He is cautious before the extension of his leadership position to act is secured.

In addition, many Chinese analysts believe that the crisis was caused by Europeans and Americans and therefore must be resolved on their own.

Finally, Beijing is increasingly concerned about Taiwan’s future.There are obvious differences between Ukraine and Taiwan, but both Front line Judging by the swift and strong international response to Russia, Beijing has a stronger and more unified global reaction to Taiwan’s potential military takeover in the future, given Taiwan’s higher strategic value to the United States. I am concerned that it is likely to bring out.

That’s right President BidenDisappointing, Top Hispanic Rep. Joe Biden urges Biden to promote the unification of Ukrainians in the US Democratic Party to limit medium-term losses. The United States will stop normal trade with Russia.Decided to send a delegation led by the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen In the midst of the current crisis, he sent Taiwan a strong message of its commitment to protect Taiwan. Such a move would exacerbate Beijing’s concern that the United States is paying lip services to “one China” only. That kneeling reaction will be a better preparation for US intervention in the Taiwan Strait.

Recently published United States Indo-Pacific strategy It sees China as a major competitor threatening US dominance in the region. Part of the justification of the Biden administration’s decision to eliminate US military intervention in Ukraine remains to focus. Indo Pacific.. It is naive to believe that China’s mediation during the European crisis will change US policy towards China or significantly improve Sino-US relations.

China’s incentives to lead mediation efforts in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine are overwhelmed by strategic calculations of international and domestic priorities. Like other great powers, China puts its own interests first. The Ukrainian people are probably in balance, as major countries have set their interests aside to prioritize the end of this humanitarian disaster in China, the United States, the EU, and others.

Zhiqun Zhu is a professor of political science and international affairs at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

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