• Description

On the 24th of February 2022, the Russian Federation began the military invasion of Ukraine after recognizing and assuring the security of the people republics of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east of Ukraine. The following images of Russian troops invading the country combined with Putin's political rhetoric on removing the 'neo-Nazis' in Kyiv and the acute need to bring order and de-nazify the country have been a shock to Europe and the international system. The ongoing conflict is the latest manifestation of Russia's increasingly revisionist ambitions towards the current American-led international order, an order that academic scholars increasingly argue is under threat by both revisionist and emerging powers. One of which is the People's Republic of China, a state that not only historically has enjoyed strong political ties with Russia, but also possesses territorial ambitions that parallel the current situation in Ukraine. An observation that is increasingly made by western media and academics has been drawing the parallel towards China's calculated nature as a selectively revisionist state but its ongoing territorial disputes in the region of the South China Sea has been the subject of increasing attention. Specifically, the People's Republic of China's tenuous relationship with Taiwan is perceived to be the next area of confrontation and revisionist efforts toward the rules-based international order. This observation has only been strengthened as the Beijing has failed to take a clear position towards the conflict, intentionally leaving its position ambiguous: the absence of recognizing the conflict in Ukraine as an aggressive war led by Russia in combination with recently abstaining on a vote condemning the conflict in the United Nations has only served to fuel fears and heighten tensions.

To that extent, this report seeks to determine and understand the plan and potential policy direction that Beijing may pursue while examining the restrictions and considerations that may dictate its future decisions. China's position and role as one of the largest economies in the global market and in proximity to vital economic routes and sea lanes of communication ensure that any conflict in the region would have wide-ranging and damaging implications and consequences. Concretely, the objective of this article is to examine and determine the manner and impact in which the Russo-Ukrainian war will have on Chinese foreign policy and what limitations and opportunities do the regime face in either constructively engaging in advocating for a de-escalation of the violence or utilizing the conflict as a road map for its ambitions. The report systematically examines the economic and political incentives and relations China possesses with both the Ukraine and Russia before examining parallels between Taiwan and Ukraine and determining if China possesses the capabilities and political motivation to become a mediator to bring about an end to the conflict.