Geopolitical Lessons: Understanding Ukraine War Takeaways For China
For over a year now, the raging Russian invasion of Ukraine has been bringing the Chinese military valuable information on modern warfare.
Meanwhile, Beijing has been drawing geopolitical lessons about the risks of using force, the challenge of a direct clash with the US and its allies, and the limitations of Western sanctions.
China’s constant refusal to distance itself from Moscow and condemn the brutal conflict has further harmed its relations with the West.
This wave is particularly true in the case of Europe, which has not only gotten closer to Washington but also US allies in Asia, like Japan. It comes at a time when Beijing enjoys greater access to Russian resources and military technology.
Currently, Washington and its allies seem incredibly determined to compete with China, restricting the export of key technologies, redirecting major supply chains and enhancing military partnerships amid warnings a crisis similar to the one in Ukraine could erupt in Asia.
Hostile Environment And Self-Sufficiency
For several countries in the Indo-Pacific, the invasion has deepened anxieties over China’s intentions, accelerating their decisions to build up deterrence capabilities, said Amanda Hsiao.
This phenomenon, in turn, has worsened Beijing’s perception that it’s encountering a hostile external environment, the senior China analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank added.
China has lately been emphasising self-reliance, investing heavily in domestic technology to cut dependence on Western imports as well as developing closer relations with countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific.
One of the main reasons behind its growing focus on boosting domestic consumption and improving self-sufficiency in key industries is the looming fact that – just like Russia – the country will almost certainly be hit by Western sanctions in the event of a conflict.
China Needs Russia For Its Own National Interest
Washington and its allies are very likely to intervene in case Beijing decides to expand its control and invade Taiwan, although it’s unclear exactly how.
Despite not being a formal ally, Russia is still the only major power that has stood by China in the latter’s intensifying rivalry with the US. The strong and special relationship between Xi and Putin seems to be extremely important to be downgraded at such a critical moment.
Moreover, certain experts believe even if China wanted to support the war-ravaged Ukraine, the hostile relationship it currently shares with the West makes it quite unwise for the country to ditch Moscow. It seems the longer the conflict grinds on, the more the West will be distracted from their aim of containing China.