Why is Kiev suddenly interested in Beijing?
Kiev has been focusing on its relations with Beijing lately. President Zelensky had a phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time, and politicians from the Ukrainian ruling party Servant of the People congratulated him on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Ukraine has also signed a contract with China on infrastructure projects and will now be able to secure loans from Beijing.
Disappointed by the West
Journalists Oleh Pavlyuk and Pavlo Kalashnik explain Kiev's motives on Hromadske.ua:
“Let's remember that from the start of his presidency, Zelensky has been focused on attracting investments. But the West isn't investing much and the budget deficit is about 246.6 billion hryvnias [about 7.7 billion euros]. So the desire for 'cheap money' is very understandable. ... Moreover, Zelensky has recently become a staunch supporter of Ukraine joining Nato. And he has repeatedly voiced his grievances about Ukraine not being let in.”
Eyeing Ukrainian farmland
Donetsk journalist Sergei Mirkin explains in Vzglyad why Ukraine is interested in China - and vice versa:
“Unlike the US or the IMF, China can give Kiev loans without political strings attached. Beijing will not demand reforms or send its 'supervisors' to Ukrainian ministries. So Ukrainian officials and oligarchs are interested in Chinese money. Moreover, they want to show the West that the Maidan regime can get money from the East. ... The Chinese interest is of an economic nature. In Ukraine there is only one resource that interests both Western and Chinese businesses: farmland. If Ukraine can't pay China back, China will help itself to the land.”
A dangerous game
Commenting on gordonua.com, former Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman warns:
“Trade and international investment in Ukraine is a key element of economic prosperity, and China is a critical partner in this area. So I am in favour of continuing mutually beneficial economic cooperation. But we have to be careful about political cooperation. I am concerned that the Ukrainian government either does not understand or is frighteningly ignorant about the potential danger of getting too close to communist China. China has stated that it will support Putin and his fight against the pro-Western countries. ... [It] has its strategic interests, which do not coincide with those of Ukraine.”