Tired of the U.S., Ukraine cuts business with China and keeps silent about Uighurs

Washington — dissatisfied with the United States, Ukraine is cutting transactions Together with rival superpowers, he invited China to build infrastructure while curbing criticism of Beijing’s human rights records.

Ukraine Last month, it advertised an agreement with China to build airports, roads and railroads in Eastern European countries. Covid-19 vaccine made in China..

Just days before the cooperation agreement was signed, Kiev chose to remain silent on alleged human rights abuses in China.

At the UN Human Rights Council, Ukraine has an independent observer in China to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Persecution of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities..

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet provided the rationale for the move and has not responded to requests for comment.

Andrey Sharaskin, head of the Ukrainian Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee, said China demanded that Ukraine remove the signature from the joint statement, revealing that the promised delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine would be abolished. Said that he did.

“When Ukraine signed the declaration, China began asking [Ukraine] Withdraw it. At the same time, they blocked the shipment of vaccines that we had already paid for. “

Ukraine is struggling to secure a sufficient supply of vaccines and launch attacks, with vaccination rates lagging behind most countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Associated Press quoted an anonymous source and first reported that China threatened to cancel vaccine shipments if Ukraine did not withdraw its support for a Canadian-led joint letter.

The Chinese embassy in Ukraine has publicly denied putting pressure on Ukraine over a joint statement. The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

At this month’s Ukrainian parliament, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba faced a question as to whether the government made a U-turn from the West. He said Ukraine continued to commit to “Euro-Atlantic integration” and opposed human rights abuses. He did not mention why Kiev set fire to China and the Uighurs.

“I can say that your question is currently under discussion with our Western partners and China on this issue. We will explain our position as soon as the process is complete,” he said.

However, Oleksi Arrestvic, an adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine, later issued a frank warning to the United States and its allies.

“My main message is that Ukraine may head east if the West continues to abandon Ukraine’s interests for friendship with Russia,” Arrestvic said on July 18.

Ukraine has been in conflict with its much stronger neighbor, Russia, since 2014, when Moscow invaded and annexed the Crimea region. Pro-Russian separatists also dominate parts of eastern Ukraine, with sporadic clashes continuing along the front lines.

Despite Russia’s opposition, the Ukrainian government has vowed to unite the country with the European Union and NATO, not Moscow. However, Ukraine is impatient with its Western allies and believes it needs more help to counter Russia.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Biden administration was in Russia Planned gas pipeline Kiev accused the White House of not taking decisive action to suspend the project and said it would give Moscow influence over the European government towards Europe.

Zelenskyy also sought a face-to-face meeting with Biden for months, and it wasn’t until last week that the White House announced that Biden would host him for his August 30 visit to the United States.

In friction with Washington, Ukraine this month, announced the infrastructure construction plan with China, Zerensuki talked for the first time China’s Xi Jinping Jintao. According to a statement from the Office of the President of Ukraine, they discussed “the full realization of the potential for bilateral cooperation, especially in the areas of trade and major infrastructure projects.”

Zelenskyy and Xi said China is Ukraine’s largest trading partner and has agreed to build a visa-free travel system between the two countries.

In diplomacy with China, the Zelensky administration has deliberately signaled Washington that Ukraine’s partnership and cooperation cannot be taken for granted, according to sources near Cheong Wa Dae.

The point of the government’s approach was, “If you don’t fully support us, we’ll go to China.”

However, Ukrainian gambits are risky and can easily backfire, sources said. “Ukraine must maintain a special relationship with its long-standing partner rather than looking for a new partner,” sources said.

For some time, China has some potential to expand Ukraine’s economic reach as part of the Global Belt and Road Initiative in Eastern Europe and beyond, according to former U.S. officials and experts. I have regarded it as one of the hubs. A Chinese shipping company took over the container business at the port of Pireus in Greece more than a decade ago, and Chinese companies have made large multi-billion dollar investments in Serbia and Hungary, including planned railroads through the Balkan Peninsula. I have come. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić kissed the Chinese flag when a large amount of medicines arrived from Beijing last year. His government ordered the first Chinese-made vaccine in Europe.

China, which wants to invest heavily in the transformation of its military power and reduce its reliance on Russia’s weapons and equipment, is also keenly interested in Ukraine’s defense industry.

“If I’m Chinese and trying to diversify the sources of military power … Ukraine isn’t a bad place to see,” said the former US Defense Secretary of Europe and NATO, who are now assistant seniors. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Townsend said. A fellow think tank at the Center for a New American Security.

Attached string

China’s infrastructure projects around the world often come with both financial and political costs. Most projects are financed by loans, many poor countries cannot repay, and Beijing can take ownership of the site.

China also often draws political benefits from the country in exchange for trade and infrastructure arrangements, former officials and experts said.

Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asian division, said China has a pattern of forcing the government to refrain from criticizing Beijing’s human rights records. Pressure can take the form of a threat, or China can bring economic benefits if the country succumbs to Beijing’s demands, Adams said.

Mr Sharaskin of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament said he detained Ukraine when China linked life-saving vaccines to avoid criticism of Beijing’s human rights records.

“This situation was cleverly used by the Chinese to bring Ukraine closer to China from the west. It is part of the information warfare. It is China’s expansionist politics,” he said.

Still, Mr Sharaskin said it was a mistake to say that Ukraine had abandoned the West.

Kiev rejected China’s offer to acquire Motorsick, a Ukrainian aerospace company that manufactures helicopters and jet engines this year. US officials have urged Ukraine to refuse the deal, and Kiev has so far chosen not to cross its potential red line after first welcoming the proposal. Kiev officials imposed sanctions in January on Skyrizon, a Chinese company seeking to acquire a majority stake in Motorsick.

Image: Ukrainian soldiers (Aleksey Filippov / AFP via Getty Images)

Image: Ukrainian soldiers (Aleksey Filippov / AFP via Getty Images)

“This was a political decision that frustrated the Chinese side. It was a painful slap from the official Kiev.” Ukrainian think tank for strategic and security studies..

A State Department spokesperson said the United States is concerned about China’s “predatory business practices” and that China’s “state-owned and controlled businesses are defending Ukraine to create commercial opportunities or employment growth in Ukraine. I’m not interested in industry. “

“They take advantage of these acquisitions to strategic chains and foreign technologies to support strategic and military-industrial complex objectives that are contrary to US national security interests and the interests of allies and partners. We control access to the site, “said a spokesman.

Regarding China’s attempt to link the vaccine to favorable treatment by Ukraine, the Biden administration said it was aware of reports of Beijing’s pressure tactics.

A spokesman for the State Department said, “I condemn China’s reports of using vaccines as a coercive measure around the world, including Ukraine,” and called China the People’s Republic of China by its official name.

“Don’t use life-saving vaccines as a means of political pressure. We strongly condemn efforts to link vaccine delivery to political or economic conditions or favors. In contrast, the United States has two million doses of Moderna. We are proud to have provided this. A vaccine against untied Ukraine. “

Evelyn Falcus, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia from 2012 to 2015, said Ukraine is not naive about China despite dissatisfaction with Washington over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Stated.

“For now, I don’t want to increase tensions at the official level. It doesn’t make much sense for Ukraine. In the long run, in the medium and short term, they are in the US for their own benefit.” Told.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said Ukraine remains committed to the transatlantic future.

“But this does not mean that we artificially hold on to the development of bilateral relations with any particular country or region. Wherever the country we are interested in, Ukraine National interests have always been our number one priority. “