【英语中国】俄乌之争:中国拒绝选边站 Beijing adopts Miss Universe stance on crisis and urges calm

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2014-3-14 08:44

小艾摘要: When Chinese premier Li Keqiang holds his annual press conference today, one of the main questions he is unlikely to answer to anyone’s satisfaction is: what does China really think about Russia’s r ...
Beijing adopts Miss Universe stance on crisis and urges calm
When Chinese premier Li Keqiang holds his annual press conference today, one of the main questions he is unlikely to answer to anyone’s satisfaction is: what does China really think about Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine and Crimea?

Beijing is in a very tough spot over the issue because events that have played out over the past couple of weeks roll all the authoritarian leadership’s worst nightmares into one big nasty dumpling.

Popular uprisings are anathema to Beijing but then so is the occupation of sovereign territory by another country, especially in the name of protecting ethnic minorities and their right to self-determination – think Turkic Muslims and Tibetans in China’s western regions.

China’s responses to the crisis in Ukraine have followed the Miss Universe beauty pageant philosophy of international relations: China would like to see world peace and hopes everyone can just get along.

No matter how hard Moscow, Washington or the international press try to force it to come down on one side of the dispute, the most Beijing has been willing to say is that all sides should “remain calm and exercise restraint” and come to a “peaceful resolution”.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign minister chose his first annual press conference on Saturday as the moment to declare that Sino-Russian ties are better than ever. So what is China’s real position on the crisis in Ukraine?

Strange as it may seem for many in the west, who are used to their leaders expounding on far-flung parts of the globe they cannot always pronounce, the world’s second-largest economy and top superpower contender does not really have a stance on Ukraine, or many other issues that have hit international headlines.

As one senior strategic adviser to the government put it in a private conversation: “Russia is our friend but this is typically aggressive Russian behaviour; we’re going to lie low on this issue, wait and see how it plays out and at the end we’ll be friends with everybody.”

This may seem more like the policy countries such as Luxembourg or New Zealand might adopt towards the conflict but China is just not ready to start throwing its weight around in parts of the world that clearly lie within other people’s spheres of influence.

In contrast, in its own neighbourhood, China has explicitly moved away from its former passivity and openly describes its foreign policy as “active”.

That is obvious in everything it does these days, from the recent declaration of an “air defence identification zone” covering disputed islands in the East China Sea to its largest ever naval rescue operation under way in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Outside of east Asia, at least when its own interests are not directly involved, in many ways China’s position in international affairs is rather noble.

In a nutshell, China stands for non-interference, dialogue, negotiation, peaceful resolution of conflict, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and a voice for all nations no matter their size.

Chinese diplomats argue, quite reasonably, that when foreign powers meddle in the internal conflicts of other countries they almost always make the situation worse. In the case of Ukraine, China has very little direct stake in the conflict or the outcome, certainly compared with Europe, Russia or even the US.

Apparently Beijing is waiting for delivery of a Ukrainian hovercraft, it sometimes orders jet engines from Kiev for its military, and it has invested in some agricultural projects in the country. That hardly constitutes core interests.

“In more and more instances the world wants to hear what China thinks,” one senior official told the Financial Times last week.

“But as our influence grows we are even more reluctant to take sides or make strong statements because we understand that the more important we are, the more likely our interference will complicate things and make them worse.”

当中国总理李克强今天举行年度新闻发布会时,他不太可能让任何人感到满意的主要问题之一是:对于俄罗斯最近在乌克兰及克里米亚采取的行动,中国真正的看法是什么?

北京方面在这个问题上陷于非常棘手的处境,因为过去两周发生的事件,似乎把这个威权领导层所有最可怕的恶梦揉成了一个讨厌的大饺子。

人民起义是北京方面不愿看到的,但是由另一个国家占领主权领土同样让中方敏感,尤其是出于保护少数民族及其自决权的名义——想一想中国西部地区的突厥穆斯林和藏族吧。

迄今中国对乌克兰危机的回应,似乎与环球小姐选美大赛中的国际关系理念如出一辙:中国希望看到世界和平,希望各国和睦相处。

无论莫斯科、华盛顿或者国际媒体如何努力,试图迫使中国在这场争端中选边站队,北京方面愿意作出的最大限度表态是,各方应当“保持冷静克制”,寻求“和平解决”。

与此同时,中国外长选择在上周六他的首次年度新闻发布会上宣布,中俄关系比以往任何时候都好。那么,中国在乌克兰危机中的真正立场是什么?

西方人习惯于听到他们的领导人就地球上遥远地方的事务发表高见(有时候领导人连那些地方的地名都说不准)。很多西方人也许会感到奇怪的是,全球第二大经济体、未来超级大国的头号角逐者,在乌克兰问题乃至登上国际新闻标题的其它许多问题上并没有明确的立场。

正如中国政府的一名资深战略顾问在私人谈话中所说的:“俄罗斯是我们的朋友,但这是俄罗斯典型的咄咄逼人的行为;我们在这个问题上要保持低姿态,静观事态演变,最终我们将与各方交朋友。”

这似乎更像是卢森堡和新西兰这样的小国对这场冲突可能采取的政策,但中国就是不准备在明显处于别国势力范围的地方发挥自己的影响力。

与此形成反差的是,在本国所处的地区,中国已明确告别过去的被动状态,转而公开形容其外交政策是“积极”的。

这一点如今在中国的一切行为中显而易见——从不久前在东海划设覆盖争议岛屿的防空识别区,到展开有史以来规模最大的海上搜寻行动,寻找失踪的马来西亚航空公司(Malaysia Airlines) MH370航班。

在东亚地区以外,至少在不直接涉及中国自身利益的情况下,中国在国际事务中的立场在许多方面相当崇高。

概括地说,中国主张不干涉、对话、谈判、和平解决冲突、尊重主权和领土完整,并代表所有国家(无论大小)发声。

中国外交官相当合理地辩称,当外国势力插手别国内部冲突时,他们几乎总是使局势变得更糟。就乌克兰而言,中国与这场冲突或其结局没什么直接利害关系,尤其是在与欧洲、俄罗斯甚至美国相比的情况下。

据信北京方面正在等待乌克兰交付一艘气垫船,中国有时候向乌克兰订购军用喷气发动机,中国还投资于乌克兰的一些农业项目。这算不上核心利益。

“在越来越多的问题上,世界想要听一听中国的看法,”中国政府的一名高级官员上周对英国《金融时报》表示。

“但随着我们的影响力逐渐增长,我们更不愿意偏袒任何一方或发表强烈声明,因为我们明白,我们越是重要,我们的插手就越有可能使事情复杂化,把局面搞得更糟。”

译者/何黎

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