Economic integration

China deepens economic integration with Ukraine

The move comes just days after the Kiev withdrawal
to sign a UN declaration criticizing Beijing

KYIV – Ukraine and China further deepened their economic integration this week after signing a cooperation project to work together on ambitious and large-scale road, bridge and rail projects of the Beijing Belt and Road Initiative.

China’s Commerce Ministry said the deal was signed on June 30 and came just days after Ukraine’s delegation to the United Nations (UN) withdrew its original intention to sign a joint statement to the Council of human rights organization of the international peace organization in Geneva concerning the alleged treatment by Beijing of its Muslim minorities.

In an exclusive article, the Associated Press (AP) reported on June 25 that China had pressured Ukraine not to be the 45th country to sign the UN declaration calling for more scrutiny. in-depth look at how Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are treated in Xinjiang Province. . These allegations stem from previous UN reports and research by international nonprofit groups into widespread human rights violations, including internment camp placement and slave labor.

China denies the claims and says its policies are aimed at “re-education” to alleviate extremism in society.

The PA quoted unnamed diplomats in Geneva as saying that China would have refused to ship 500,000 doses of its Sinovac-made COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine if Kiev backs the statement.

Ukraine has ordered 1.9 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China, but has so far received only 1.2 million vaccines as it has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE / RL) also reported.

Separately, Canada’s Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Leslie Norton said in a statement that “credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang”, many of whom are Muslim minorities. from China.

Oleksandr Merezhko, chairman of the Verkhovna Rada’s committee on foreign policy and interparliamentary cooperation, told RFE / RL that the report is “unofficial information” and asked who the anonymous diplomatic sources were.

Five days later, Beijing announced the infrastructure deal, and the two sides did not disclose any monetary amount for the large-scale project.

The Communist Party of China Global Times reported that the two countries “will encourage domestic enterprises and financial institutions to actively cooperate on road transport, bridge and rail transport projects, and provide [the] the aid and support necessary for the implementation of cooperation projects, which should have broad development prospects, according to the agreement.

And Ukraine’s foreign ministry reportedly said in a statement on June 24 that Ukraine values ​​its strategic partnership with China, according to media run by the government of the oppressive communist country.

Ukrainian Weekly could not locate the statement on the website of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

China is currently Ukraine’s largest trading partner, but the two countries are at odds over control of a state-of-the-art aircraft engine maker based in Zaporizhia oblast.

Ukraine’s national counterintelligence agency, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), seized Motor Sich’s assets and all of its shares on the basis of a court order on March 20. China has applied for ownership of the strategic defense company to develop its air force. The United States has opposed the takeover by a Chinese company believed to be closely linked to the Beijing government and which is currently sanctioned by the US Department of Commerce.

In January, the United States imposed restrictive measures on Chinese airline Skyrizon, which claims a controlling stake in Motor Sich. The Commerce Department said that “the company’s predatory investments and technological acquisitions in Ukraine pose an unacceptable risk of diversion to military end use” in China.

In December, Chinese investors filed a $ 3.5 billion international arbitration case against Ukraine, accusing it of wrongly taking over the company after the government initially froze its shares in the company in 2018.

The Chinese Belt and Road project for wider economic integration includes Ukraine. It crosses South and Central Asia, and Europe. Its sea and land route also connects with Africa and the Mediterranean Sea.

At least 68 countries and international organizations have signed infrastructure agreements with China as part of the initiative. A major component of it includes a rail network that connects London to the Chinese city of Yiwu.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently came under a microscope for his multibillion-dollar infrastructure project in the country to renovate and build new roads, bridges and highways.

In late June, government procurement watchdog Nashi Hroshi (Our Money) wrote that much of the bidding for the project would not go through the much-vaunted ProZorro electronic platform.

The group’s website said in an analysis of a bill that was passed in June that virtually no oversight will take place over the company.

This includes the $ 3.5 billion “Ring Road” in Kiev which is under construction. State[-run] the Ukravtodor road agency “will” single-handedly choose “to build the highly anticipated project, the watchdog said.

Chinese construction in Ukraine is designed to be a toll road, with Chinese Poly Changda Engineering Company being a major player in the project. The ring road will also connect the Ukrainian capital with the port city of Odessa and Chop on the Black Sea, in the westernmost Zakarpattia oblast.