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China to Respond Harshly if US & NATO Try to Use 'Ukraine Playbook' in Taiwan, Author Says

© AP Photo / Fei Maohua/Xinhua / In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops march in formation Sunday, July 30, 2017, as they arrive for a military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA on Aug
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops march in formation Sunday, July 30, 2017, as they arrive for a military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA on Aug - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2022
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China is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, with some authors at the Chinese daily Global Times castigating the US for abusing its superpower status and escalating the Ukraine crisis. They are even dubbing Washington a "Voldemort of the global order," and a "vampire" who creates "enemies" and makes its fortunes from the pyres of war.
Beijing has indeed taken a tough stance against Washington and NATO over the Ukraine conflict, while not using the language employed by the Chinese daily, says Thomas W. Pauken II, a Beijing-based Asia-Pacific affairs commentator and author of "US vs. China: From Trade War to Reciprocal Deal."
On 6 May, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian yet again criticised the US-led NATO bloc, citing the anniversary of NATO's bombing of Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia on 7 May 1999 that claimed the lives of three Chinese journalists and wounded more than 20 Chinese diplomats.

"NATO claims to be a defensive organisation, but in fact it has repeatedly violated international law and wantonly waged war against sovereign states, undermining global and regional peace and killing and displacing a large number of innocent civilians," Zhao said. "In its blind pursuit of 'absolute security', NATO engaged in five consecutive waves of eastward expansion after the end of the Cold War, which did not make Europe safer, but rather sowed the seeds of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, reigniting conflict on the European continent."

Beijing has adhered to a balancing strategy with regard to the Ukraine crisis since the beginning of Moscow's operation. China has not adopted the West's anti-Russian restrictions, and has repeatedly abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly resolutions aimed against Moscow.
"Beijing sees little to gain from joining the international chorus condemning Moscow," writes Yan Xuetong, a distinguished professor and dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University, in his op-ed for Foreign Affairs.
The Chinese are well aware that regardless of what China says or does in response to the Russian special operation, "Washington is unlikely to soften its strategy of containment toward Beijing," according to the professor. At the same time, "as China’s largest and most militarily capable neighbour, Russia is not a power that Beijing wishes to antagonise," Yan highlighted.
"[Beijing] now sees Washington as deliberately escalating the war [in Ukraine] in order to perpetuate it, thereby weakening both Russia and China," the professor wrote.
In this April 14, 2016 file photo, a Chinese national flag flutters against the office buildings in Shanghai, China.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.04.2022
China: US Must Stop Imposing Sanctions to Help Resolve Ukraine Conflict

US Attempts to Set Taiwan on Fire May Trigger Strong Response From Beijing

China is likely to stick to the "middle path" with regard to the Ukraine crisis until the special operation in Ukraine is over, according to Yan Xuetong. The only thing that can change Beijing’s calculus and push it closer to Russia, "is if the United States provides military support for a Taiwanese declaration of de jure independence," the professor wrote for Foreign Affairs.
If the US and NATO instrumentalise a "Ukraine playbook" to provoke China over Taiwan, which Beijing sees as an unalienable part of China, President Xi Jinping's response is likely to be tough and sharp, emphasises Pauken.

"The Chinese believe that if Taipei joins NATO or declares independence, Beijing has no choice but to invade and take the island back," said the Asia-Pacific affairs commentator. "The Chinese don’t see a peaceful separation coming about. They stand willing to die to take back Taiwan. But Westerners seem confused and don’t recognise the mindsets of the Chinese in regards to the Taiwan issue."

It seems that the Chinese did not anticipate that the EU and NATO would resort to highly bellicose rhetoric, tough and even self-harming sanctions as well as a large-scale armament spree, in response to Russia's special operation, according to Pauken.
"The Chinese have some concerns that Europe could pursue pro-war hawk policies and that would place Beijing at greater risk of conflicts," the Beijing-based commentator notes, adding that the Chinese believe that NATO and Russia wouldn't end up in a nuclear standoff.
Currently, NATO appears to be ready to proceed with further expansion as Finland and Sweden are considering joining the bloc. The commentator notes that there are also rumours in the East that the transatlantic military bloc could admit South Korea one day. NATO and Seoul have been engaged in dialogue and cooperation since 2005. On 5 May 2022, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) became the first in Asia to join NATO’s Cyber Defense Group.
© AP Photo / Lee Jin-man / South Korean army soldiers walk after an anti-terror drill as a part of Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise at National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017
South Korean army soldiers walk after an anti-terror drill as a part of Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise at National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2022
South Korean army soldiers walk after an anti-terror drill as a part of Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise at National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017

The World is Bracing for "Depression"

China's growing distrust in the West has been amplified by the US and EU sanctions against Russia as well as grabbing of Russia's Central Bank assets and those of Russian businessmen. The Guardian claims that Beijing has ordered a “stress test” to study the implications of a similar sanctions spree against the Chinese economy.

"The Chinese business community lost trust with the US a long time ago," says Pauken. "US President Donald J. Trump’s trade wars just re-confirmed their doubts on doing business with the USA… The Chinese are also anticipating they will become new targets of economic sanctions, so they have begun to adapt by investing more into their own country or elsewhere in the Emerging Markets, via the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI)."

Beijing needs the BRI more than ever before, according to the Asia-Pacific commentator. This need stems not only from a threat of Western economic sanctions, but also from growing global inflation and recession engulfing developed economies.
Pauken argues that in high inflationary times, the biggest winners will be the markets with huge amounts of natural resources, including oil, gas, coal, minerals, rare earths and many other commodities. At the same time, the biggest losers will be those who rely too heavily on the services industry and consumption, i.e. the EU, the UK and the US.

"The world will be confronting severe energy and food shortages along with serious disruptions in global supply chains," says the author. "We should anticipate the onset of conditions leading to an international recessionary economy, and don’t be surprised if a Global Depression ensues for the next few years."

Meanwhile, China-Russia trade ties are likely to "remain robust and with potential for huge growth for both sides," since Russia is the world's largest holder of natural resources and a founding member of the BRI, according to Pauken.
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