Ukraine and China seem to be growing increasingly close over the past 2 years.
There are numerous posts withing this blog relating to China and various agreements, such as Ukraine holding the Yaun (and being 1 of only 12 nations that do), space R&D, infrastructure, military, oil and gas exploration on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov shelves, metals, coal, coke, chemicals, agriculture, fertilisers, PRC Consulates opening in almost every major Ukrainian city etc. The list does not end there and in fact it would be a lot of effort to go back through the entire blog and link to all past entires mentioned in this paragraph and more.
So good have relations become, I am considering a little “China-Watch” section to attempt to map out the increasingly close ties.
To set out my position, I am not in any way anti-PRC. I do not consider China a threat to Ukrainian sovereignty in the same way I would the EU suprastructure, a Eurasian Union or any other uber-collective, centralised decision making body that remains unaccountable to the average person on the Ukrainian street. It is why I have been and remain against Ukrainian entry to the EU as a full Member State. Ukraine adopting a position similar to Norway has my full backing.
That is not to say an over reliance on China (or any other nation) is not ultimately a threat to national sovereignty, of course it is, but there needs to be a certain amount of trust unless there plan is to become insular, with other global actors.
It was interesting to note this article on the Xinhau website which has gone completely unmentioned here in Ukraine.
The language used by both sides, given the briefly outlined and recent developments I listed at the start of this entry, puts some flesh onto the bones of what otherwise can be dismissed as the usual political clichés and rhetoric.
Meng: “China and Ukraine enjoy a solid political foundation, an integration of economic interests, active people-to-people exchanges and close cooperation on international issues, which has brought substantive benefits to the two nations and their people.”
Bogatyryova: “The current Ukraine-China relationship is in its “best-ever” phase.”
As I wrote recently, with both the EU and Russian relations somewhat strained with Ukraine at present, other actors will attempt to make the most of the geographical and geopolitical opportunities Ukraine presents. The two specific actors I identified were Turkey and China. Turkey as a regional power, quite possibly soon the regional power, and for China, a quasi-satellite province (given sufficient influence within Ukraine) between Russia and the EU would be a geopolitical coup.
The next 10 years will be exceptionally interesting to watch unfold with regard to the geopolitical importance that not only the EU and Russia attach to influence over Ukraine, but also just how far any Chinese or Turkish in-roads progress and any such influence they will achieve.
Suffice to say, there are more points on the Ukrainian compass than those who believe it is limited to either the EU and Russia.