Beijing : Amid the uncertainty surrounding the impact of sanctions on Russia on global companies, China on Wednesday assured to protect the rights and interests of national companies in the event of unilateral sanctions by the US.
“China opposes any form of unilateral US sanctions and will resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters when asked about the prospects for US sanctions against China for its stance on the Ukraine crisis.
The Chinese diplomat asked Washington not to harm China’s legitimate rights and interests in any way. There is a lot of conjecture about the strategic relationship between China and Russia, and the degree of knowledge that Chairman Xi Jinping had before President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on Ukraine.
Last week, CIA Director William J. Burns hinted at a potentially tenuous China-Russia relationship in the wake of Moscow’s increasingly tactics against Ukraine, with Burns telling the Senate Intelligence Committee that Xi is “unsettled”.
“The Chinese leadership, first, has invested a lot in partnership with Russia, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon,” Burns said during the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing. “I do however believe that the Chinese leadership, President Xi in particular, is unsettled by what he’s seeing, partly because his own intelligence doesn’t appear to have told him what was going to happen.”
Xi and Putin issued a 5,000-word joint statement ahead of the Winter Olympics last month outlining how the two nations approached different issues, with the statement released following a meeting of the leaders in Beijing. The New York Times had reported that Chinese officials asked the Russian government to hold off on invading Ukraine until the end of the Winter Olympics.
But the reality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including the targeting of civilians and displacement of millions of Ukrainians, may have shifted China’s calculus.