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New arena of the struggle between US and China

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — On Wednesday, August 28, US Presidential Advisor on National Security John Bolton met in Kiev with the leadership of Ukraine, including with President Vladimir Zelensky.

According to the US Embassy, ​​this hastily planned visit was once again aimed at focusing on American support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as its “desire for Euro-Atlantic integration.” However, the main purpose of the visit was to block China’s attempts to buy the Ukrainian company Motor Sich, which produces engines for military helicopters.

The Chinese company Beijing Skyrizon Aviation wants to acquire 50% of the shares of this Ukrainian manufacturer, as reported by sources familiar with the situation. According to some reports, a Chinese investor offered $ 100 million in an attempt to get permission for this deal. Skyrizon chairman Wang Jing is rumored to have close ties with the Chinese Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army.

While the antimonopoly committee of Ukraine is checking the deal proposed by the Chinese, the United States, according to some reports, is considering providing support to the American company that claims to buy Motor Sich through the state agency Overseas Private Investment, which provides financing to American enterprises that want to invest in emerging markets.

The US does not hide its strategic interest in blocking Skyrizon’s investments in Ukraine. In an interview with Ukrainian media before meeting with Zelensky, Bolton said that defense technology should not be transferred to a “potential enemy,” adding that the interests of not only Ukraine, but also the United States, Japan and several other countries are at stake.

On Friday, August 30, Bolton said the United States would increase US military assistance to Ukraine, although the very next day, President Donald Trump made the exact opposite statement. According to the American media, Trump asked Bolton and his other advisers to suspend and review the $ 250 million package of military assistance to Kiev.

China has long been trying to gain access to Ukrainian military technology. Ukraine was an important supplier of military equipment in the former Soviet Union. The first aircraft carrier built by China – Liaoning – was created on the basis of the Ukrainian aircraft carrier cruiser Varyag, bought by Beijing. Skyrizon is already purchasing technology from the state-owned enterprise Antonov, the Ukrainian manufacturer of the largest transport aircraft in the world, An-225.

In 2017, Skyrizon agreed to buy a stake in Motor Sich, but the Supreme Court of Ukraine blocked the deal, which was the result of backstage lobbying by the United States and Japan. “The purchase of a stake in Motor Sich will help improve Chinese military technology and will result in a threat,” said one diplomat from Japan.

China has made Ukraine one of the key links in the One Belt, One Way infrastructure program. As part of a joint project announced at the end of 2017 and valued at $ 7 billion, China is rapidly building a port and expressway in Ukraine. And his generosity is already bearing fruit. According to one senior Ukrainian official, in addition to pro-American, pro-European and pro-Russian factions, voices of those who support cooperation with China are increasingly heard in the Ukrainian political and business community.

Ukraine is becoming increasingly important for China against the backdrop of an expanding trade war with the United States. To counter the increase in tariffs, China, which for a long time depended on the United States on the issue of grain imports, today sees in Ukraine – the “granary of Europe” – an alternative supplier. Ukraine already accounts for almost 80% of Chinese corn imports. Now Ukraine is rapidly increasing soybean production, which China previously purchased mainly from the United States.

Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, still suffers from Beijing flirting with Kiev – it is quite possible that Ukraine’s warm relations with China, from its point of view, are a more preferable option than alliances with the United States and Europe.

China and Russia are also getting closer. The pace of bilateral military cooperation is growing, and these two states are increasingly conducting joint military exercises. According to some reports, Skyrizon chairman of board Wang maintains good relations with the Kremlin, and rumor has it that Moscow is supporting a Chinese company in its plans to gain control of Motor Sich.

At a recent G-7 summit in France, Trump spoke of the need to return Russia to this club, but such a decision would be tantamount to significantly easing the sanctions imposed against Russia in connection with the annexation of Crimea.

Bolton’s visit to Ukraine, despite Trump’s more conciliatory stance on Russia, seems to be an attempt to keep Kiev on America’s side. However, the actions of the American administration in Ukraine are explained not so much by its opposition to Russia, but by the desperate desire of the White House to contain China.

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