The Russia-Ukraine war threatens to jeopardize one of China’s most secretive but crucial strategic ties in recent years: its reliance on Ukraine as a supply of technology for China’s developing military.
Russia-Ukraine conflict affects Chinese military
Despite heightened pressure from the United States, military analysts and diplomats believe that the present crisis might largely derail a trade that has benefited China’s military modernization over the past two decades. The expanding links between Beijing and Moscow, as well as the uncertainties regarding Ukraine’s post-war economy and administration, might put the partnership at risk.
As reported by Swiss Info, the Chinese have bought engines for its training planes, destroyers, tanks, and transport aircraft, according to arms transfers documented by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in addition to the largely constructed hull of one of the remaining Soviet aircraft carriers.
Some command-and-control systems and other missile technology have long been considered to have originated in Ukraine, said military attaches based in Asia. The report also stated that several Ukrainian technicians have worked privately in China.
Reuters revealed that China has spent between $70 million and $80 million annually, according to SIPRI statistics, which does not assign a value to every agreement listed. More than $380 million has been spent on the supply of turbofan engines for Chinese JL-10 combat aircraft trainers, as SIPRI data shows.
The military specialists and engineers in China’s armed forces have gained access to cutting-edge technology, which has allowed the country to become less dependent on Ukraine. Russia is still China’s main source of military technology, but Ukraine has been able to help with some things that Russia isn’t always willing or quick to give. This is because Ukraine was a military shipbuilding and aerospace hub in the Soviet Union.
China in position with Russia amidst the invasion of Ukraine
China is wagering it will win the war between Russia and Ukraine. In recent days, Beijing has carefully designed its stance, first neutral and subsequently backing Moscow. Asserting that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a special military operation and explaining that aggression is an expression of the Kremlin’s justified perceptions of regional instability, the Chinese leadership has recently demonstrated its solidarity with Putin.
According to Politico, Beijing is not enthusiastic about a land conflict in Europe. However, despite the fact that President Vladimir Putin is considered as the war’s aggressor, China has declared its loyalty to Russia. Beijing removed any uncertainty about its position by boosting Russia’s narrative, blaming the US for the situation. It also offered trade support for Russia.
On Tuesday, the administration of President Joe Biden hoped that China could play a positive role in preventing or moderating the looming Ukraine crisis. According to a statement from the State Department’s Ned Price, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to ask for China’s help in preserving Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.