Russian moves in Ukraine are giving China a headache

Soon before he was thrown out his job as Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych visited Beijng in December 2013 to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and announce a substantial new Chinese investment package for Ukraine worth $8 billion. The two countries have boosted their military and trade cooperation in recent years. As VOA reports, the Yanukovych government “agreed last year to a deal for China to lease five percent of the country’s land to grow crops and raise pigs for sale to Chinese state-owned companies. As part of that deal China promised to build highways and bridges in the country.”

Then there were reports like this one about China agreeing for the first time to extend its nuclear umbrella to include Ukraine. One expert I talked with earlier this week mentioned the nuclear umbrella story and I thought… wow, that seems like a pretty big deal. It appears to be wrong though, as the Arms Control Wonk points out here. I didn’t get into the nuclear umbrella issue with my story that ran on Thursday, but here you go.

For more reading on the bind that China finds itself in after Russia’s takeover in Crimea, see Elizabeth Economy’s excellent piece on the CFR site, and Peter Ford’s story in the CSM from Beijing.

About Matthew Bell

Correspondent with PRI's The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH in Boston. We're an international news operation with an hour-long show Mon-Fri on US public radio stations. Check it all out here: Follow me @matthewjbell & the show @pritheworld
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