09/12/2022, 12.23
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Beijing's anger as Kiev looks to Taipei

​The Chinese embassy in Ukraine wanted to prevent the creation of a friendship group with Taiwan in the Kiev parliament. Its promoter denounces the 'Soviet' methods of Beijing, which refused to help Ukrainian civilians when the conflict broke out. Broad support among Taiwanese for the Ukrainian cause.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Ukraine is increasingly looking to Taiwan, angering China, which considers the island a "rebel" province. Oleksandr Merezhko, head of the foreign affairs committee of the Ukrainian parliament, revealed that he was pressured by the Chinese embassy in Kiev to stop the creation of a parliamentary friendship group with Taipei.

Merezhko told Focus Taiwan that Beijing used "Soviet" methods to block his initiative, which was welcomed by many fellow MPs from different parties: the group now has 10 members from the majority and five from the opposition. Many European countries have parliamentary contact groups with Taiwan. Among them, the Baltics are the most active, along with the EU Parliament representation.

The Ukrainian politician reveals that he refused to meet the Chinese ambassador Fan Xianrong. firstly because the meeting request did not comply with protocol; secondly because in March, at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese envoy refused to see a delegation from the Ukrainian Parliament. The Kiev MPs were asking for Xi Jinping's help to open humanitarian corridors for civilians fleeing Moscow's bombardment.

The reversal of Putin's fortunes in Ukraine, with Kiev troops continuing to recapture portions of territory formerly occupied by the Russians, threaten to put China on edge. Xi is banking on a strong Russian (junior) partner to weaken US influence in the world; however, Moscow is not showing that it has the political-economic strength and stability to compete in a clash of powers.

Losing Ukraine would be no small thing for Beijing: the Ukrainian space is key to connecting China and Europe with the 'new Silk Roads', Xi Jinping's trade and infrastructure megaproject known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

China's ill-concealed support for Russia's war effort has fuelled anti-Chinese sentiment in Ukraine. According to the authorities in Kiev, given the Chinese positions, the 'strategic partnership' with Beijing exists only on paper. On the contrary, Taiwan has sided with the Ukrainian cause, even providing humanitarian aid. With its pro-Kremlin attitude, the Chinese giant might miss the opportunity to contribute to the future reconstruction of Ukraine.

On September 15 and 16, Xi will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan, which Vladimir Putin will also attend. The 'no-holds-barred' partnership announced in February between Moscow and Beijing on the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine seems to be giving China more headaches than benefits.

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