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Taiwan-Ukraine Discussions on the Beijing-Washington Line

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It is obvious that the global power struggle has gained momentum after the Russian-Ukrainian War that started on February 24, 2022. As a reflection of this situation, the Taiwan Problem has also formed the idea that hot conflict may occur in the Asia-Pacific Region, especially after the visit of the then Speaker of the United States of America (USA) House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on August 2, 2022.

The United States, which has repaired the damage in trans-Atlantic relations by succeeding in consolidating continental Europe against Russia in the aforementioned process, is also trying to get Europe’s support against China. In this sense, it can be argued that the Washington administration is trying to destabilize the traditional other, Russia, which stands out in the context of its search for multipolarity, and China, which is considered as a potential hegemon, by challenging the unipolar world order it built after the Cold War. In other words, while the US strengthens its relations with its allies; it also wants to limit and isolate its competitors.

It can be stated that the most important advantage of the US is the difference in methods in the relations between Moscow and Beijing with the West. Because while Russia is trying to impose its “great power” status on the West with a confrontational character; China, on the other hand, is trying to gain this status by using mutual economic dependencies with the West and especially with Europe. This is the reason why, during the Russian-Ukrainian War, Beijing did not support Moscow at the level expected by the Kremlin.

Although allegations have been made by the United States that China is providing arms to Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed his discomfort with the prolongation of the war to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Samarkand Leaders’ Summit hosted by Uzbekistan in September 2022.[1] Since this period, actors such as Germany and France, which have been trying to balance the pressure of the United States, which wants the war to be prolonged, and who want the war to end as soon as possible, have made some demands for Beijing to mediate.

Finally, on the first anniversary of the war, China published a roadmap for achieving peace. In this road map, the most important emphasis made by Beijing was the first article to include support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. [2] It is possible to say that this article caused a serious disturbance in Moscow.

Essentially, the Chinese government’s emphasis on territorial integrity can be considered as an effort at discursive coherence. Because Beijing believes that the West is acting hypocritically in its Taiwan policy in line with the “One China Principle”. As a matter of fact, on March 8, 2023, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang made statements pointing out that the United States acted hypocritically on Ukraine and Taiwan issues. In this context, Qin used the following expressions in his evaluation of the subject:[3]

“The Chinese people are asking reasonable questions. Why does the U.S. talk about respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity when it comes to Ukraine and not China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity when it comes to Taiwan and China? Why have they been selling weapons to Taiwan for a long time, in violation of the August 17, 1982 treaty, while demanding that China not provide arms to Russia?”

For Beijing, this emphasis on consistency substantial. Because it is stated that the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, plans to visit Taiwan like his successor, Pelosi.[4] Therefore, it can be argued that the U.S. lured Russia into a trap by encouraging the country in question about its Western orientation in Ukraine and provoked China in order to drag China into an aggressive actor position in the Taiwan Issue.  Beijing, on the other hand, expects the “One China Principle” to be respected.

Qin’s statements are very important in terms of revealing that China is cautious, trying to prevent Europe from siding with the United States by drawing attention to the discursive consistency and in a sense, it is a subject not to be dragged into the status of an aggressive state by focusing on diplomacy. Therefore, China wants to offset the pressure on Taiwan by referring to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states. This search for balance seems to make Moscow feel more alone on Ukraine. Because the emphasis on territorial integrity and sovereignty indicates that at some point, China, like the collective West, sees Russia as an aggressor state.

As a result, the US wants to isolate Russia and China in order to maintain its hegemony and the unipolar world order within this framework. The war in Ukraine has met Washington’s expectations for the isolation of Moscow from the world. At the point of isolation of China, Taiwan’s trump card is used and the US continues to play on China’s soft stomach, or in other words, to test its nerve endings. It seems that; China is also aware of the game to be established. For this reason, it exhibits an approach that emphasizes discursive consistency. For this reason, the status that China is trying to achieve in the international system as a potential hegemonic power is not confrontational; it can be predicted that it will maintain its desire to win with a cooperation-centered approach that emphasizes interdependence.


[1] Cenk Tamer, “Has China’s Perspective on the Russia-Ukraine War Changed?”, ANKASAM, https://www.ankasam.org/has-chinas-perspective-on-the-russia-ukraine-war-changed/?lang=en, (Date of Accession: 08.03.2023).

[2] “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis”, FMPRC, https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/202302/t20230224_11030713.html, (Date of Accession: 08.03.2023).

[3] “Çin Dışişleri Bakanı Qin’den ABD’ye Tayvan ve Ukrayna’ya Farklı Yaklaşım Sergileme Suçlaması”, Sputnik News, https://sputniknews.com.tr/20230308/cin-disisleri-bakani-qinden-abdye-tayvan-ve-ukraynaya-farkli-yaklasim-sergileme-suclamasi-1067966188.html, (Date of Accession: 08.03.2023).

[4] “US Speaker McCarthy Plans to Meet Taiwan president Tsai in US-Reports”, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/07/us-speaker-mccarthy-plans-to-meet-taiwan-president-tsai-in-us-reports, (Date of Accession: 08.03.2023).

Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN
Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN
Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN, 2014 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2017 yılında Giresun Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası Güç İlişkileri Bağlamında İkinci Dünya Savaşı Sonrası Hegemonik Mücadelelerin İncelenmesi’’ başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora derecesini ise 2021 yılında Trakya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı‘nda hazırladığı “İmparatorluk Düşüncesinin İran Dış Politikasına Yansımaları ve Milliyetçilik” başlıklı teziyle alan Başaran’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Uluslararası ilişkiler kuramları, Amerikan dış politikası, İran araştırmaları ve Afganistan çalışmalarıdır. Başaran iyi derecede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde Farsça bilmektedir.