China Helps Undercut Russian Sanctions

Russia and China
Russian and Chinese flags | Image by FP Creative

Despite tough sanctions instituted by Western governments against Russia, the war in Ukraine has lasted over 50 days, largely due to the assistance of the Kremlin’s closest regional ally, China.

In a press conference on February 23, the Director of the Chinese government’s Foreign Ministry Information Department, Hua Chunying, was asked if China would be joining the United States and other countries in sanctions against the Russian government.

“You obviously lack a basic understanding of Chinese government policy. We believe that sanctions are never the fundamental and effective way to solve problems. China always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions,” responded Chunying.

She went on to say that her government believes that nations should solve their problems at the negotiation table.

On February 4, during a trip to Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss a potential increase in oil and natural gas sales between the two nations.

The result of that meeting was an agreement that China would purchase an additional 10 billion cubic meters of oil from Russia’s far east region every year, a deal worth approximately $117.5 billion.

This and other agreements reached by the two nations in the past few months mirror deals made in the past. In 2014, China and Russia made similar accords after the United States and other countries issued sanctions over Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration have repeatedly warned China against continuing to assist the Russian government.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, stated on March 13 that China would “absolutely” face consequences if it continued to provide material or financial support to the Russian government.

Foreign trade made up 46% of the Russian economy in 2020, with most of that money coming from China.

Despite the Biden administration’s repeated threats, it does not appear that any action has been taken against China or other world governments for continuing to engage in trade with Russia.

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