Why is this topic relevant? According to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the United States has indications that China is considering military support for Russia in the war in Ukraine, namely in the form of weapons, ammunition or heavy equipment.
Already last February, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a joint statement that the friendship between their countries “knows no boundaries.” Shortly afterwards, Russia invaded Ukraine. China has tried to take a neutral stance in the conflict and has not officially supported the Russian invasion, but at the same time has not condemned it either – it has repeatedly abstained on the issue at the UN.
In addition, there is growing evidence of indirect Chinese support for Russia in the war against Ukraine, for example, through Chinese companies supplying Russia with bulletproof vests and helmets, not to mention dual-use technologies that enable both civilian and military use. This is also why the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told CNN that China is not currently providing enough evidence that it is not cooperating with Russia in this area.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also mentioned that developments in the conflict in Ukraine may be indicative of China’s future strategic plans. Indeed, the eventual success of the Russian campaign could provide the Chinese leadership with a definitive resolution to the question of whether China will find it worthwhile and, above all, whether the international community will let it get away with attacking democratic Taiwan, which China has seen as its rebel province for decades. Thus, although China is trying to act as a peacemaker, a Russian victory in the war in Ukraine would greatly benefit its geopolitical interests.
Chinese diplomat Wang I said in Munich last week that the war cannot continue and that efforts should be made to end it. China is also said to be planning to present a peace plan for both sides of the conflict.
How should the Czech Republic and the EU proceed? In view of the above, the Czech government should initiate preventive sanctions against China at EU level if it starts supplying arms to Russia against Ukraine. Such a prepared package of potential sanctions could partially deter China from potentially deepening its support for the Russian Federation in its war against Ukraine.