In La Tribune 20/03/2023
China is annoyed. It benefits from the war in Ukraine because it pays for its imports of Russian metals, gas and oil at significant discounts to its competitors, especially Western countries. In the longer term, Russia will redirect the construction of its gas pipelines to the East to the benefit of Beijing. Without insulting the future, it is illusory to imagine the repair of Nord Stream pipelines directed to Germany, it is East Stream that is in mind.
Beijing has not officially recognized the Russian annexations
But Beijing is not happy about the invasion of Ukraine, because it is precisely the opposite of what it wants for Taiwan. A bis repetita of Marioupol at Hsinchu would be a nightmare for Beijing. In Ukraine, the name Marioupol resonates with the destruction of the Azovstal steel plant. In Taiwan, the city of Hsinchu echoes TSMC, the world leader in semiconductors. If the Chinese People’s Army were to invade Taiwan, it would be impossible for them not to damage TSMC’s Taiwanese factories, and this would be a war like Azovstal’s, i.e. without any industrial benefit, since TSMC is so strategic for Beijing.
What is true for semiconductors is also true for the rest of the Taiwanese industry. The capture of Taiwan is a war for politics as well as for the economy. For Beijing, what good would be a devastated island ? The People’s Army can think of no other strategy than a peaceful voluntary return of Taiwan to the Chinese mainland rather than a belligerent and destructive invasion of the island’s industry. Ukraine invasion is not the example for Beijing.
As said Sun Tzu : “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” because ““The greatest victory is that which requires no battle” therefore ““All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
Beijing is therefore annoyed, because its economic interest is to continue to benefit from attractive prices for Russian raw materials, but its political interest is to show that the paradigm of Russia’s despicable destruction in Ukraine is not what it wants for Taiwan. Besides, Beijing has not officially recognized any of the annexations of the territories of Crimea, Lugansk or Donetsk.
Taiwan does not want to join the camp of dictatorships
That is why its interest in Ukraine is a cease-fire, but not solving the conflict. Why ?
It wants a cease-fire, so that the fighting stops and the political prospects in the Taiwan Strait are calmed on the one hand. But, on the other hand, no resolution of the conflict, so that the Western economic sanctions against Russia continue to direct massive flows of metals, gas and oil to the East.
The idea is simple and diplomacy will be at work to make it more complex by giving it the colors of acceptability. With one thing in mind, however, Taiwan has no desire to join the camp of dictatorships. But it seems that Beijing has time. Until when? Until Russia collapses and the People’s Army invades Siberia as far as Krasnoyarsk?