Asia

Why China won’t join financial sanctions against Russia over Ukraine invasion

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China will not join the group of countries punishing Russia through financial sanctions amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Guo Shuqing (郭树清), 65, explained this when he attended a press conference of the State Council Information Office in Beijing, China on March 2, 2022.

Born in Inner Mongolia, China, Guo is the People’s Bank of China‘s Chinese Communist Party secretary. He has been the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission chairman since March 21, 2018.

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“Everyone is watching recent military conflict or war between Russia and Ukraine,” Guo said in Mandarin, which was translated to English by CNBC. “China’s position has been stated clearly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our international policies are consistent.”

“Regarding financial sanctions, we do not support that,” Guo continued. For him, such unilateral sanctions do not address problems effectively.

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SWIFT

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) connects more than 11,000 banks and other organizations in more than 200 countries and territories. In 2021, more than 11,000 member institutions sent an average of 42 million messages per day through the global messaging system for financial transactions.

Since Russia started invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022, more than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries. On February 27, 2022, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union banned certain Russian banks from SWIFT.

So far, the sanctions have had no apparent impact on China, according to Guo. What he wants to see happen is for all side to maintain normal economic exchanges.

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European Union

Currently, the EU has 27 member states including Belgium, Croatia, Germany and Malta. Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the political and economic union.

On July 1, 2013, Croatia became the last polity admitted to the EU and on January 31, 2020, the U.K. became the last polity withdrawn from the union. The other current members of the union are Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

On December 1, 2019, Ursula von der Leyen, 63, of Germany assumed office as the European Commission president while Charles Michel, 46, of Belgium assumed office as the European Council president. On January 18, 2022, Roberta Metsola, 43, of Malta assumed office as the European Parliament president.

On February 28, 2022, Ukraine’s incumbent and sixth president Volodymur Zelenskyy, 44, signed an official request for Ukraine to join the EU. On March 1, 2022, he delivered a speech via video link during an emergency session of the European Parliament.

“Do prove that you are with us,” Zelenskyy said in Ukrainian, which was translated to English. “Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans and then life will win over death and light will win over darkness.”

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