Must China choose sides in the Russia-Ukraine war?

Online discourse on China’s position in the Russia-Ukraine war is heating up this week as Western and Ukrainian officials criticise China’s ambiguous stance. Meanwhile, the West continues to put pressure on China to declare which side it is on despite Chinese officials’ strong rhetoric that it will judge the matter without external coercion and that the US and Nato should “shoulder their due responsibilities”. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan discusses how China is justifying its stance of not taking sides.

A man clearing rubble at the site of a damaged psychiatric hospital in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on March 22, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
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As the Russia-Ukraine war continues, the US and other Western countries have imposed strict sanctions on Russia while warning China against providing military aid or other resources to Russia. They have also pressured China to join them in sanctioning Russia or risk further action from the West.

China continues to urge negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, while adopting an ambiguous strategy towards both sides - providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine but emphasising that "it takes the one who started the issue to resolve it", implying that the US and Nato are "those who caused the Ukraine crisis".

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