China’s Ukraine Issues

Xi Jinping’s China (PRC) has a problem in Russia’s past recognition of Ukrainian independence and sovereignty under the Yeltsin Administration, and in Russia’s Putin-era abrogation of the Budapest Memorandum. It was the Yeltsin Administration foreign policy that initially joined Russia to the core treaty of the Shanghai Five in 1996, later renamed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2001 by addition of new members, yet with the PRC remaining the chief principal Secretariat and its Charter terms conditioning membership on recognition of Taiwan as part of the PRC.

If the PRC today supports Putin’s war of aggression in word or deed, it not only violates the SCO’s purportedly peaceful purpose, it delegitimizes the international meaning of the Yeltsin Administration’s recognition of Ukrainian independence and sovereignty. By precedent this would invite future Russian Administrations to delegitimize Russia’s Yeltsin-era accords with China and the Shanghai Five renamed and enlarged as the SCO in 2001 and following. It would also set precedent for future Russian governments abrogating Putin’s commitments to China in or outside of the SCO.

It appears the PRC has put itself into a knot of contradiction wherever it has by deed or word supported dictator-President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine to make Eurasia less multipolar and more unipolar. Bipolar in the East is not “multipolar.” As for peaceful means, it was Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretary-General Rashid Alimov who in 2017 wrote this in the U.N. Chronicle:

By reinforcing mutually beneficial cooperation, preventing confrontation and conflict, and maintaining equal and indivisible security, SCO aims to build a just polycentric world order, in full conformity with the norms of international law and principles of mutual respect, which meets the interests of each and every State, taking into account their mutual needs and aspirations. As a multinational and multicultural organization, SCO strives to stave off the clash of civilizations across its respective regions.

The ethos written above as the purpose and commitment of the SCO stands in contrast with SCO member aggression by dictator-President Putin’s invasion and military aggression against Ukraine.  Putin’s war also clashes with PRC President Xi Jinping’s stated principles for pursuing a “path of peaceful development.”

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