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So, Beijing Has a Nuclear Pact with Ukraine
A short Monday edition but some good stuff on Taiwan amping its war preparedness and, as Shenzhen and Shanghai go into some kind of lockdown, is the world ready for a China supply-chain crisis.
That will not be the goal in China, but the Moscow-Ukraine-China nexus is probably a lot more complicated than it looks: Photo by Matti from Pexels
China’s “Odd’ Nuclear Pact with Ukraine
Around nine years ago, Al Jazeera reported on an “odd” nuclear alliance between China and Ukraine.
On Dec. 5, two months before Yanukovich was dismissed by his nation’s parliament, Xi and Viktor Yanukovich signed [an accord to bring Ukraine under China's nuclear umbrella.” One participating Chinese official indicated to state media that deal included an “unusual” nuclear clause . In the event of a nuclear attack or so much as the threat of one, China would offer Kiev military support.
The story was reported in China but is tricky to find. Sina (Chinese language), rough translation.
In accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 984 and the statement of the Chinese Government of 4 December 1994 on security assurances to Ukraine, China undertakes unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine as a non-nuclear-weapon State and to provide corresponding security assurances to Ukraine in the event of aggression or threat of aggression against Ukraine using nuclear weapons.
The Wall Street Journal notes here in 2022;
It’s a promise of a nuclear-weapon state to stand up for a nonnuclear-weapon state being threatened by a nuclear-weapon state,” says Gregory Kulacki, a Japan-based analyst who focuses on nuclear issues and China for the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists. “It means something and it should be pointed out to China,” he says.
The meaning of this perplexing story might be here:
In its 2013 guarantees, Beijing praised Ukraine’s 1994 agreement to give up thousands of nuclear weapons from its time as a Soviet republic in exchange for security assurances from the US, UK and Russia. “China pledges unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear Ukraine, and under the conditions of Ukraine suffering an invasion using nuclear weapons or suffering the threat of such kind of invasion, to provide Ukraine with corresponding security guarantees,” the statement said.
Russia has long been Ukraine’s biggest threat and China has long taken an interest in Ukraine. Amid all the noise of China supplying weapons to Russia and standing shoulder to shoulder with Russia, China’s game is likely is likely to be far more multifaceted than it seems.
Miles Yu, a senior fellow at Washington think tank Hudson Institute and adviser to former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has for years sought to draw attention to the 2013 agreement. He says it demonstrated tension between Beijing and Moscow, reflected Ukraine’s desire for a third alternative to Russia and the EU, and also served to solidify Chinese access to weapons systems like aircraft engines produced in Ukraine.
“China has a long strategic interest in putting Ukraine in its geopolitical orbit,” Mr. Yu says.
Taiwan president endorses Hong Kong democracy documentary
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen endorsed Revolution of Our Times.
@RoOT_film, a film documenting the democracy movement in #HongKong, is now showing in #Taiwan. “The Hong Kong people’s courage and commitment to democracy are an inspiration to us all, as we work to preserve our own freedoms & way of life,” Tsai said in a Twitter post.
There’s nothing accidental going on here.Tsai wants to remind the Taiwanese public of what fate lies in store for them if they fail to resist as the Ukrainians are doing. The documentary had its first public release in Taiwan and is playing to packed theaters from north to south of Taiwan. Grossing a very respectable NT$16 million (US$536,000) for a documentary, it has been widely endorsed by politicians and local elected officials as a master class in civic education that parents should take their children to see.
Now, if only Taiwan would step up and offer work permits and residence to all of the refugees in Hong Kong sheltering in Taiwan so that they can rebuild their lives.
Tsai pointedly followed up this endorsement with another tweet highlighting her administrations moves to intensify reserve training.
“#Taiwan has doubled the length of annual reserve training & stepped up the intensity of exercises. These reforms strengthen our military mobilization, demonstrate our commitment to self-defense & reflect our people's resolve to ensure our country's security,” Tsai said on Twitter.
Taiwan’s Tsai in full military garb talking up increasing the country’s annual reserve. Photo: Twitter
Meanwhile more than 90,000 Taiwanese have donated NT$560 million about US$20 million) for humanitarian relief in Ukraine in just one week. By way of comparison, Taiwanese donated more than US$250 million in private donations to Japan in 2011 after the 2011 Tsunami. This led to a profound depeening of relations between Taiwan and Japan that politicians will ignore at their peril. Taiwanese donations are by all indications coming from the heart and are an extremely important way in which Taiwanese people can directly circumvent their diplomatic isolation.
Hong Kong, China Face the Omicron Challenge
Hong Kong, as we all know, is being besieged by Omicron, in scenes, The Guardian reports:
Reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan and Italy have played out across Hong Kong’s public hospitals in recent weeks, as the city battles its fifth and worst wave of Covid-19. Almost 3,000 people have died and more than half a million have been infected. Patients – most of them elderly, many unvaccinated – lie on gurneys in lift lobbies and waiting areas, or worse.
HKFP reports that:
Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority (HA) has asked the public to understand its difficulties with saturated mortuaries amid the city’s Covid-19 crisis, as an image of bodies lying next to living patients on a hospital ward surfaced online.
Photo circulated on Facebook.
The Guardian reported:
On 9 March, the city’s seven-day rolling average of Covid-related deaths stood at 3.28 per 100,000 citizens. That is comparable to London’s highest death rate, which edged over 3 in 100,000 in April 2020, long before vaccines had been developed and when much about the virus remained unknown. At present, Hong Kong has the highest death rate in the developed world, prompting criticism that authorities were ill-prepared and spent too much time, manpower and funds using Covid to crack down on dissent in 2021 rather than preparing for Omicron.
The big question is whither China? Well, Shenzhen, one of the world’s biggest ports is going into lockdown for a week. Shanghai has imposed restriction on non-essential travel. As the New York Times notes:
While China still has far fewer cases than most countries, the daily count of known infections has accelerated rapidly. The country’s National Health Commission reported 3,122 new cases on Sunday, up from 1,524 on Saturday and 1,100 on Friday. The average number of new cases has reached 1,370 per day over the past week.
But here’s the big deal. People don’t die of Covid-19 in China. It’s amazing how they’ve pulled that off when you think about it. Check out the chart below in Coda.
Russia Reportedly Wants China Support in invading Ukraine
According to AP, a senior US politician, has said that Russia has asked China for military equipment to use in its invasion of Ukraine. The news come ahead of a meeting in Rome today between top aides for the U.S. and Chinese governments
In advance of the talks, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy. “We will not allow that to go forward,” he said.
The US President has said that the US will not be drawn into conflict with Russia over Ukraine because that would equal WWIII.
People’s Daily Ups the Ante on Ukraine Labs.
“The Russian Defense Ministry on Thursday announced that US-funded biological labs in Ukraine were conducting experiments with bat coronavirus samples,” reports the People’s Daily.
And get this because it’s a killer. The Chinese wouldn’t have messed around with bat viruses, because it’s just not in their culture:
Some netizens commented that the Americans seem to have a special preference for making vampire-themed movies, and the prototype of the vampire comes from bat. The Americans' experiments with bat coronavirus have cultural origins.
The US should clarify its bio experiments within and outside its borders, receive verification and destroy its stockpiled chemical weapons as soon as possible.
Talk about linear!