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June 3, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11371

Russian Reactions To Chinese Military Drills Around Taiwan

June 3, 2024
Russia, China | Special Dispatch No. 11371

Following the May 20, 2024 inaugural speech of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te, in which he asserted Taiwan's sovereignty, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) launched, on the morning of May 23, a massive two-day military exercise code-named Joint Sword-2024A, surrounding the island of Taiwan (to the north, south and east of Taiwan, as well as areas around the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin, which are located in the Taiwan Strait) and simulating an attack on the island with Naval warships, fighter jets, bombers, helicopters, and rocket-launch systems.


 Taiwan (Source: Tsargrad.tv)


In gray, the 2022 drills and in red the Joint Sword 2024 A drills. The drill's encirclement of the main island of Taiwan became tighter, with the goal of normalizing the PLA's presence in the area in case of an actual invasion of the island. (Source: Global Times)


2022 drills compared to 1995-1996 PLA exercises (Source: CGTN)

Below is a review of the reactions in Russia to the Joint Sword-2024A drills:

"China Is Entitled To Take The Necessary Measures To Protect Its Sovereignty And Territorial Integrity"

On May 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Astana. On that occasion, commenting on the inaugural speech of the president of Taiwan, Lavrov stated: "Amid the inauguration of Taiwan's 'president' Lai Ching-te on May 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Moscow's steadfast adherence to the 'one China' principle."[1]

On the same day, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented: "Washington and its satellites continue to escalate the situation in the Taiwan Strait, purposefully undermine stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region, and hinder the peaceful unification of China. The island's separatist forces, fueled by Western countries led by the United States, are creating an information backdrop for the introduction of discord into relations between both sides of the Taiwan Strait... We regard such actions as an exemplary demonstration of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and for their international commitments as set out in foreign policy documents."[2]

Commenting about China's Joint Sword-2024A drills, former Russian ambassador of Russia to China, senator and deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Andrey Denisov said: "China responds with dignity and confidence, showing its strength and readiness to counter all kinds of regrettable provocative actions. Those who create provocations will not succeed."[3]

Russian senator, chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin also stressed: "The relationship between the sides of the Taiwan Strait is a purely internal affair of China, which is entitled to take the necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity."[4]

"We See Certain Parallels Between The Processes Taking Place In Taiwan And Washington's Actions To Turn Ukraine Into A Real Threat"

Russian ambassador to China Igor Morgulov compared the situation around Taiwan with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and stated that Taiwan is one of the hotbeds of tension created by Washington in the Asia-Pacific Region: "At any moment these hotbeds can be used for provocations against China according to the Ukrainian scenario. Various narrow platforms for military preparations like AUKUS [Australia, the UK and the US] are being put together, in fact, precursors of an Asian equivalent of NATO."[5]

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko further stated: "We see certain parallels between the processes taking place in Taiwan and Washington's actions to turn Ukraine into a real threat to our country's national security." He then added that Russia "is ready to support [its] Chinese friends in their actions to protect the state sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the country."[6]

In conversation with media outlet Tsargrad TV, member of the High Council of the All-Russia Movement "Strong Russia" Maksim Bardin said that the United States brought up a generation of the Taiwanese "politicians with CPR-phobia,"[7] which reminds him of the situation around Ukraine.

RIA Novosti political columnist Dmitri Kosyrev wrote: "The West no longer needs Taiwan as a prizefighter in this very competition, but it does need it as cannon fodder. The West has bred the Taiwanese democrats currently in power to brainwash the population in the same way it has done with Ukraine for a long time."[8]

Another RIA Novosti political columnist Alexander Kots argues that Taiwan is more important than Ukraine for the U.S. "Taiwan is... much more valuable to Washington than Ukraine. One of the main reasons for this is the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world's largest producer of semiconductor chips, microchips, without which almost nothing works nowadays... Washington is not going to risk such an important asset."[9] Nevertheless, Kots stressed that Washington is not ready for the extreme measures like sending their own troops to the island: "The Pentagon's numerous simulations and war games have demonstrated that there will be no sure victory over China. Nine times out of ten, the PLA prevailed."[10]


(Source: Ria.ru)

"China Is Unlikely To Ask Russia" To Participate In A Conflict With Taiwan; "Russia's Armed Forces Are Busy In Other Regions"

Vasily Kashin, director of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Moscow Higher School of Economy (HSE), said to Russian daily Vedomosti that China is sending "a political warning" rather than preparing for a full-fledged invasion.[11]

In a similar way, Andrey Karneev, head of the School of Asian Studies at HSE said to Nezavisimaya Gazeta: "Right now, the likelihood of a forceful scenario is not very high. Of course, it is important for China to prevent Taiwan's declaration of independence. But it is unlikely to initiate any conflict. Therefore, Russia has no reason to consider participation."[12]

Alexander Lukin, scientific director of RAS Institute of China and Contemporary Asia, then said that Russia doesn't want to participate in the conflict with Taiwan. "[Russia] considers the Taiwan issue an internal Chinese affair. Russia's armed forces are busy in other regions. There would be nothing much to help. And China is unlikely to ask Russia to do so. It, too, considers the problem its own internal affair," Lukin stressed.[13]

"The Postmodern Camp Is At War With The Tradition Camp"

Commenting about a possible conflict over Taiwan, Russian Philosopher Alexander Dugin, said that the world is witnessing a globe-spanning conflict between two forces: "Tradition" Vs. "Postmodernity."  According to Dugin, the "Tradition" camp includes "all civilizations and cultures that recognize sovereignty and identity," and is represented by leaders such as Indian PM Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hungarian PM Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, and Former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili. "The Postmodern camp is the collective West and its puppets, liberal and left-liberal networks around the world. Here, identity, traditional values, culture, and sovereignty are directly and harshly denied. The Postmodern camp is at war with the Tradition camp throughout the entire earth. Ukraine, Middle East, Gaza, Taiwan, and beyond," Dugin stated.[14]

Russian analytical "REDACTED P6" Telegram channel also stressed that Russia and China, "realizing the true military power of the hegemon [i.e., the United States]," will not enter direct military conflict with the U.S., [15] but they will try to inflict a number of "tactical defeats" on Washington in Ukraine, Taiwan, and the Middle East, waiting for the imminent "social and economic collapse of the United States."

"We Should Stop Transferring Our Political Desires Onto Chinese Realities"

A Russian Telegram channel "Chinese Threat" instead accused Russian analysts of wishful thinking. "After the exercise, relations between Beijing and Taipei will return to the usual course that has existed since Mao's time. We should finally stop transferring our political desires onto Chinese realities," argued the Telegram channel.[16]

The Telegram channel then added: "As always, the place of a particular event in the hierarchy of Beijing's political priorities can be determined by publications in the paper version of China's main newspaper, The People's Daily.

"In the May 24 and 25 editions, events in the Taiwan Strait are covered only on page four. The most important event in today's episode is Xi Jinping's visit to Shandong Province. [The visit to Shandong Province] is really the main news for China, and not the clatter of the separatists on the island, which is not even worth attention," wrote Chinese Threat Telegram channel.[17]


(Source: T.me/daokedao/33443)

 

[1] Mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1951678/?lang=en, May 20, 2024.

[2] Mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1951685/, May 20, 2024.

[3] Tass.ru/politika/20891499, May 24, 2024.

[4] Ria.ru/20240520/tayvan-1947268295.html, May 20, 2024.

[5] Tass.com/politics/1795633, May 30, 2024.

[6] Mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1953831/, May 30, 2024.

[7] Tsargrad.tv/articles/kitaj-blokiruet-tajvan-nastuplenie-nachnjotsja-v-ijune_1005005, May 25, 2024.

[8] Ria.ru/20240526/tayvan-1948330626.html, May 26, 2024.

[9] Ria.ru/20240531/tayvan-1949380175.html, May 31, 2024.

[10] Ria.ru/20240531/tayvan-1949380175.html, May 31, 2024.

[11] Vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2024/05/23/1039151-kitai-nachal, May 23, 2024.

[12] Ng.ru/world/2024-05-23/6_9014_china.html, May 23, 2024.

[13] Ng.ru/world/2024-05-23/6_9014_china.html, May 23, 2024.

[14] T.me/Agdchan/16107, May 28, 2024.

[15] T.me/redacted6/10330, May 27, 2024,

[16] T.me/daokedao/33442, May 25, 2024.

[17] T.me/daokedao/33443, May 25, 2024.

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