June 29, 2022

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China’s balancing act over Ukraine offers Washington a subtle ‘win’

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WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS — China’s abstentions on U.N. votes to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are a “win,” said the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, underscoring how Beijing’s balancing act between its partner Russia and the West may be the best outcome for Washington.

Beijing has refused to call Russia’s actions in Ukraine an invasion and has repeatedly criticized what it says are illegal Western sanctions to punish Moscow.

But U.S.-led pressure on China, including the specter of secondary sanctions should it provide material support for Russia’s war, appears to be helping keep Beijing on the fence over the conflict.

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China abstained from two non-binding U.N. General Assembly votes last month that criticized Russia for the ongoing war and its humanitarian costs.

“That is a win when China abstains. We’d love them to vote yes, but an abstention is better than them voting no,” U.N. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told Reuters.

“I’m not sure they expected that Russia would go this far. They continue to support Russia publicly, but I do get a sense of discomfort,” she said.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun, responding to Thomas-Greenfield’s remarks, said: “The whole world is not comfortable. Do you think that anyone should be comfortable with this crisis?”

China and Russia declared a “no-limits” strategic partnership several weeks before the Feb. 24 invasion and have been forging closer energy and security ties in recent years to push back on the United States and the West.

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In a tilt toward Moscow, China’s leader Xi Jinping…

Reuters

2022-04-07 20:12:30

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