No way Yellen can scare China into changing stance on Ukraine issue
Published: Apr 14, 2022 09:13 PM
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen addresses an Atlantic Council Front Page event on April 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen addresses an Atlantic Council Front Page event on April 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday called on China to help end the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and she warned that China will face a loss of its standing in the world. 

"The world's attitude towards China and its willingness to embrace further economic integration may well be affected by China's reaction to our call for resolute action on Russia," she said. 

This is a blatant threat to China, but China never accepts or becomes frightened by such threats. China's international status is achieved by its own strength, rather than granted by the US. As treasury secretary, Yellen should know this better than anyone else.

Yellen's remarks are aimed at dragging China into the chaos and smearing China at the same time to create the impression that China is not a responsible power. However, this is of little substance, said Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University. 

"The measures the US can take against China have already been in use for years. Washington had engaged in various sanctions since it launched the trade war with China, which turned out to be ineffective. It is just trying to use the Ukraine crisis to blackmail China more comprehensively," Li told the Global Times. 

US Labor Department data released on Tuesday shows that consumers in the US paid more for everyday items in March, to their highest level in 40 years, as inflation rose to 8.5 percent. And gasoline prices have skyrocketed. By prolonging the war in Ukraine, the US government is trying to shift the problems to other countries. But this is just drinking poison to quench their thirst.

China's stance on the Ukraine crisis has been objective, fair and consistent. China has repeatedly called for peace and talks. But the US approaches have only compounded the crisis. For example, the Biden administration announced on Wednesday an additional $800 million in weapons to Ukraine, including artillery, armored personnel carriers and helicopters.

The US is the last country that wants to see a ceasefire in Ukraine. It is impossible for the US to put out the flames of war in Ukraine because it will not allow Ukraine to accept Russia's conditions, Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Nanjing University, told the Global Times. 

Li from the China Foreign Affairs University also argues that Washington hopes to take advantage of the Ukraine issue to "suffocate" Russia. The divergence between what the US says and does reflects contradictions in the US policies. 

"Yellen's statements show that senior US administration officials have realized a prolonged war in Ukraine could have a huge impact on global industrial chains. They are anxious about the 'gray rhino' that can spark a new decline in the world economy," Zhu said. "There is even a good chance that the US economy will enter recession in the second half of the year. However, the need of domestic political and security interests has led the US to continue to pretend to be a staunch supporter of 'democracy,' 'freedom' and 'human rights' in Ukraine." 

Washington holds no moral ground on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The US takes advantage of the insecurity the conflict has brought to Europe and its uncompromising competition with Russia for its own strategic goals. Washington can be said to be the initiator of the entire crisis. It doesn't mean Western countries, which chose to side with the US, all agree with what the US has said and done. For example, France and Germany are not that satisfied with the US. 

The US' unjustified policy toward the Russia-Ukraine conflict has increasingly taken a toll. It will simply further hurt the global economy by pointing the gun at China. According to Zhu, US pressure won't make China budge, nor will China yield to pressure. 

China and the US need to coordinate on how to stabilize the world economy and ease the situation in Ukraine. By substituting threats for coordination, the US shows the arrogance of its policy elite and the tragedy of US diplomacy.