Stepan Kubiv, the First Deputy PM of Ukraine, while attending the Belt and Road Initiative forum in Beijing on April 25, “offered” to build a logistics corridor to link China and the EU through Ukraine.
Just 4 days before this official ‘offer’, an actor (comedian) Volodymry Zelensky was elected as the next president of Ukraine. “Not much is known about his foreign policy except that he is mainly pro-Western, wants Ukraine to enter the European Union, and would seek NATO membership for his country …” reported by Vox on April 21. This same article does not forget to mention that “… Ukraine is still among Europe’s poorest — if not the poorest — countries …”
It is unclear whether the EU-Ukraine-China corridor ‘offer’ has got the president-elect’s approval, there is a very important implication if he is interested in it.
In March, an article by Carnegie Europe elucidated why it is “time for NATO to talk about China”. Despite a lack of new points (e.g. Huawei again), the analyst warned that “NATO unity would certainly not be well-served by importing a growingly toxic transatlantic debate on China …”
On April 4, a POLITICO Europe’s essay further dissected the current situation and its admonition is more direct: “For NATO, China is the new Russia”. While it also failed to suggest any new deliberation (e.g. repeating the South China Sea issues), the author quoted the view of Jan Techau, director of the Europe program at the German Marshall Fund of the US, that “China paralyses decision-making in Europe …”
As many eastern European countries are not hostile to Russia (e.g. Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria; whereas Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are considered as Baltic states), Ukraine is the only one, and the largest one in terms of territorial size, which is more willing to side with the EU. If Kiev under different pro-EU presidents persistently seeks lifeline from China rather than France and Germany, the integrity of the EU in future would be in doubt.
To China, Ukraine is a key partner not just on its Silk Road, but also a significant member for the overall growth of Eurasia. For example, Ukraine is a major source of grains and oilseeds for China, and since 2013 China’s Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps have been talking with KSG Agro to buy 100,000, and eventually up to 3 million, hectares of agricultural land in Ukraine.
A pro-China Ukraine will generate a big headache to EU and NATO. Nevertheless, the ultimate question the EU and NATO leaders should ask is not why China is so appealing , but “what is wrong with ourselves?” It is the beginning point of Nietzsche’s “Self-overcoming”.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.