Ukrainian officials have reassured China of their commitment to safeguarding Chinese assets within the country, following a Russian missile attack on the Chinese consulate in Odessa. The assurances were given during a meeting between Ukrainian and Chinese trade officials aimed at discussing the expansion of Chinese economic activity in war-torn Ukraine.
China’s BRI Involvement in Ukraine Despite Ties to Russia
Despite being a key ally of Russia, China actively engages in business dealings with Ukraine and is a participant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). President Zelensky has invited Chinese businesses to invest in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, while also taking measures to protect his country’s economy from potential Chinese hegemony.
Chinese Vice Minister’s Emphasis on Safety
During the meeting, Chinese vice minister of commerce, Ling Ji, emphasized the need for Ukraine to ensure the safety of Chinese enterprises and assets in the country. Ukrainian trade representatives pledged to enhance security measures for Chinese companies operating in Ukraine.
Attack on Odessa Consulate and Chinese Response
The missile attack on Odessa resulted in damage to the Chinese consulate, raising concerns about the safety of foreign assets in Ukraine. While Ukrainian authorities documented numerous missile and drone attacks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed only minor damage to the consulate and confirmed the safety of its staff.
Chinese and Korean Presence in Post-War Reconstruction
The meeting between Chinese and Ukrainian officials followed a visit to Kyiv by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who offered opportunities for Korean corporations to engage in post-war infrastructure projects. China’s Belt and Road Initiative was seen as overlapping with South Korea’s interests in Ukraine, leading to criticism from Chinese state media.
Zelensky’s Ongoing Efforts to Attract Foreign Investment
President Zelensky has consistently extended invitations to both China and South Korea for involvement in Ukraine’s reconstruction. He hopes to attract Chinese businesses to participate in the country’s rebuilding efforts and has urged China to use its influence to encourage Russia to halt hostilities in Ukraine.
Amid ongoing hostilities and lack of progress in peace talks, the situation remains tense and uncertain, with foreign governments carefully navigating their economic and political interests in Ukraine’s recovery.