“China is divided on Russia – Let’s keep it that way”, Vera Kranenburg and Ties Dams (Clingendael Institute, The Netherlands)

How will the war in Ukraine impact the geopolitical rivalry between the US and China? US officials see the war as part of a broader confrontation between democracies and autocracies and lump China and Russia together. Others are much less outspoken. Much has been made of the Xi-Putin statement on February 4th, giving rise to a new Axis-of-Evil narrative and concerns that China has chosen to side with Russia. But what is the Chinese narrative of Russia and the war? A review of Chinese statements shows a mixed picture. In this Alert, we examine Chinese statements made after the Russian invasion in Ukraine and assess what it tells us about possible Russian-Chinese cooperation.

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