China-Russia Friendship – Any Limits?
The key points made by experts at the March 10, 2022 Crossley Center panel on China-Russia Friendship – Any Limits?. Although they see some important short-term objectives for China from the relationship with Russia, they see many limits, especially highlighted by the invasion of Ukraine.
From March 10 Webinar: China-Russia Friendship – Any Limits?
- The Indo-Pacific region has acted more in sync with Europe regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine compared to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014 – a courageous decision for Japan who shares a border with Russia and is heavily dependent on Russian imports.
- While China has agreed to align with Russia to counter economic sanctions imposed by Western countries, China abstained in the United Nations vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This, together with Xi’s virtual meetings with Germany’s chancellor and France’s president to find a solution to the war, signal that China hasn’t entirely sided with Russia.
- Russia and China don’t have shared values, but do have shared threats by the U.S. as they both attempt to restore their past glory as empires.
- Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific policy is inclusive, not exclusive. It has agreed to cooperate with China’s Belt and Road initiatives in the Indo-Pacific.
- North Korea’s push to develop nuclear missiles is reinforced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian aggression against Ukraine would not have happened if Ukraine had nuclear weapons.
- Neither Japanese Prime Minister Kishida nor U.S. President Biden are hawkish, but neither are doves. Prime Minister Kishida’s foreign policy is based on realism. He has to consider relationships with neighboring China, North Korea and Russia. The strategy is to work with allies and like-minded countries to face challenges.
- The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put China in a bad diplomatic situation. The war will damage China’s economic interests, and the rallying of countries around the world against Russia has given China pause. China could use the crisis as an opportunity to position itself as a responsible member of the international community.
The panel was moderated by Professor Floyd Ciruli, Director of the Crossley Center.
- Akiko Fukushima – Senior Fellow of Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research
- Tsuneo Watanabe – Senior Fellow of Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- Suisheng Zhao – Professor, Director of the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation
The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver and the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation, with the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, sponsored the event.