SCMP cited experts saying that if Beijing were to be punished by the West because of assisting Moscow with its invasion of Ukraine, China would suffer more damage than Russia is facing.
The Hong Kong news outlet commented that now, different from Russia, China highly depends on foreign trade and has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves, much of which are stored in the U.S. and Europe.
He Weiwen, the commercial counselor at the Chinese consulates in New York and San Francisco, said, “The expansive economic sanctions that U.S.-led Western countries have imposed on Russia can be seen as a textbook warning for China—on how far [the sanctions] can go.”
An anonymous Beijing-based European diplomat said, “Once sanctioned, China would be hurt far more than Russia.”
The diplomat added, “China is worried and doesn’t have many tools [to counter the impact of sanctions].”
However, some Chinese experts remarked that the Chinese regime could also be confident that the West is less likely to punish them.
A senior fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Lu Xiang, said if the West sanctioned China, “The effects of any sanctions are mutual.”
Lu continued, “We have assets in the U.S. and Europe, and so do they in China.”
According to a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, Ned Price, up to now, U.S. intelligence has not found evidence of China selling weapons to Russia.
At a press conference on April 18, Price said, “We’re going to continue to watch [the Chinese government’s move] very closely.”