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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Ukraine finds ‘strategic partner’ China missing in action

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(TibetanReview.net, Sep13’22) – In order to be able to draw maximum mileage from countries it has cordial trade and diplomatic ties with, China likes to characterize its relations with them in such glowing terms as strategic and what not. Well, Ukraine has since learnt that the Chinese leadership never had their mind in such flattering utterances, as Russia continues its war of aggression against it into the sixth month, with China’s explicit and unreserved diplomatic and moral support.

The issue came to the fore after China learned that Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Merezhko was planning to establish a Taiwan friendship caucus in the parliament and was invited by the Chinese Ambassador to Kyiv, Fan Xianrong, to discuss the matter.

Merezhko, the head of the Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation, refused, partly because Fan had earlier refused to see him and his colleagues when they requested a meeting in March to discuss opening humanitarian corridors for civilians in Ukraine, amid Russia’s relentless shelling, as they believed Chinese President Xi Jinping had some influence with Russia, reported Taiwan’s CNA news agency Sep 10.

Undaunted, the Chinese embassy in Ukraine then proceeded to call or write to the lawmaker’s friends and superiors, asking them to put pressure on him.

In Beijing, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also made representation to Ukrainian Charge d’Affaires Zhanna Leshchynska about the issue, Merezhko has said.

Mr Oleksandr Merezhko the head of the Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation. (Photo courtesy: Unian)

In its representation, China has sought to convince Ukraine that it was the United States which was to blame for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. Merezhko has called this suggestion unfathomable to his country.

Earlier, a joint declaration signed between Ukraine and China in 2011 characterized the relationship between the two countries as “strategic partnership,” but that status quo is now questionable, Merezhko has said.

He has pointed out that Beijing has aligned itself with Russia, as indicated by Xi’s declaration of “no limits” friendship with Putin before the war began in Ukraine on Feb 24, and by Fan’s refusal to meet with the Ukrainian lawmakers who wanted to talk about humanitarian corridor.

“This is not any kind of strategic relationship at all,” Merezhko has said.

In his view, China had expected Russia to take over Ukraine and set up a puppet regime in Kyiv.

And while China has opposed the sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia since the start of the war, Taiwan has joined the global efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Merezhko has said.


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