China will consider its own interests when deciding whether to help Russia deal with the impact of Western sanctions as a result of the Ukraine war, according to a former deputy sanctions coordinator at the US State Department.
“The US government will view China as very important here,” Richard Neveu told CNBC Monday, when asked about how important China’s role is in ensuring the effectiveness of US sanctions. He added that the Chinese have the ability to provide a “certain degree” of support to Russia as Moscow suffers from the repercussions of those sanctions.
The Chinese will always look to their national interests, and they still have a great interest in being able to do business in Europe, and do business in the United States.
Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University
next one Russia’s invasion of UkraineThe The United States and the European Union intervened with sanctions On Russian banks, the central bank and the assets of their oligarchy. Last week, the United States imposed an additional embargo on Russian oil.
Investors are watching closely to see what China will do when those sanctions hit the Russian economy. Moscow is counting on Beijing To help weather the blow to its economy, The Financial Times reported,. However, the United States warns China not to support the rogue state.
“The Chinese will always take their national interests into account, and they still have a great interest in being able to do business in Europe, and do business in the United States,” Nevo told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”
“The degree to which it is seen as undermining the sanctions campaign by the United States or Europe may negatively affect that. I think China will take that very seriously.”
Since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Beijing refused to call it an invasion He said China will maintain normal trade with the two countries. China has not joined the sanctions of the United States, the European Union and other countries on Russia. But Prime Minister Li Keqiang said last week China was very concerned about the crisis in UkraineHe warned that sanctions would hurt global growth.
But if Washington is to support Beijing in not supporting Russia, it “is unlikely to achieve miracles,” said Nevo, currently a senior scholar at Columbia University.
“But at the same time, I think they’re going to put that frustration and anger out there and nonetheless, in order to ensure that their interests are taken into account,” he said, referring to China.
He added that this could mean quietly not cooperating with Russia, “but certainly not blatantly violating US and European sanctions against Russia.”
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is scheduled for talks On Monday with China’s top foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, to discuss the invasion of Ukraine.
The White House said earlier China’s trade with Russia is not enough to offset the impact of US and European sanctions on Moscow. She said that the share of China and Russia in the global economy is much lower than that of the Group of Seven, which includes the United States and Germany.
China is the largest trading partner of Russia and Ukraine, and trade between China and Russia has reached a score high $146.9 billion in 2021, an increase of 35.8% year-over-year, According to China Customs Agency. China’s imports from Russia exceeded its exports by more than $10 billion last year.
Alexander Gaboyev, a senior fellow and president of Russia at the Carnegie Moscow think-tank, said he expected China to be “religious in terms of observing” US and EU sanctions. He added that Beijing “will do everything in its power” outside the scope of sanctions.
One possibility is that once the war situation has stabilized, China could seize opportunities to buy Russian oil and gas cheaply, Gaboyev told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” program on Monday.
“There will be no official violation of US and European sanctions, but that will be an important physical lifeline for the regime,” he said.
CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.
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