President Putin and Chinese President Xi.

It’s Time to Offer Russia an Offramp. China Can Help With That.

March 13, 2022
Wang Huiyao

This is a summary of an opinion piece originally published by The New York Times.

The author, the founder and president of the Center for China and Globalization, argues that "securing a multilateral resolution to the crisis in Ukraine will be a tough and risky challenge, but there is no country better placed to do so than China." The author notes that the United States and its allies should not discount the role that China can play in light of it being their strategic rival, and that "the conflict’s immediate dangers far outweigh any competitive considerations."

The author notes that China has strong economic interests in a quick resolution to the conflict, particularly because "Russia and Ukraine are crucial components of the Belt and Road infrastructure program as well as conduits for China’s trade with Europe." However, the author adds a caveat that “it is not in Beijing’s interests to rely solely on an anti-Western alliance with Moscow" in light of the fact that Russia's economy "is in long-term structural decline," which means that "China’s economic interests with Russia are dwarfed by those it shares with the West.” The author further argues that China has an interest in taking on an active mediation role to secure a quick resolution, especially if it finds itself "in a position of diminishing returns in its close relationship with Russia." A solution, in this case, might be one that gives Mr. Putin sufficient security assurances that can be presented as a win to his domestic audience while protecting Ukraine’s core sovereignty and NATO’s open-door policy.”


Wang Huiyao

Wang Huiyao is the founder and president of the Center for China and Globalization, a non-governmental think tank based in Beijing. 

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author. Photo by shared under a Creative Commons license.