Will the Ukraine War Blow U.S.-China Relations Further Off Course?

The past few weeks have seen U.S.-China tensions ratchet up. In early February, a U.S. fighter jet shot down what Washington concluded was a Chinese spy balloon off the east coast of the U.S., prompting loud condemnations from Beijing. Later that month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after meeting with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference, warned that China was considering giving lethal aid to Russia for its war efforts in Ukraine. He warned of serious consequences for Beijing if that happened. U.S.-China relations had seemed to be looking up after a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jingping in November last year. These past few weeks, however, mark further deterioration, with some particularly harsh rhetoric from Beijing over the past few days. 

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood is joined by Amanda Hsiao, Crisis Group's China expert, and Stephen Pomper, Crisis Group’s chief of policy, to talk about what to make of China's potential involvement in the Ukraine war, U.S.-China relations and tensions over Taiwan. They explore how Beijing sees its relations with Moscow, its stance on the Ukraine conflict and whether it is likely to send weapons, given it also appears reluctant to alienate Europeans. They discuss the spy balloon incident and heightened tensions between the US and China. They then talk about Chinese and U.S. policy toward Taiwan, particularly since the controversial August 2022 visit by then Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to the island, what to expect in the forthcoming Taiwanese presidential elections and how the Ukraine war is shaping calculations over the island.

For more on the situation, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our China and Taiwan country page, and for more analysis on global issues, see our Multilateral Diplomacy page.

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