Three-Dimensionality as the Benefit?

March 20, 2022

Reaction to the Russian attack on Ukraine as an influence on the tripartite world economic order

An important characteristic of the modern world order is that the United States and China, as the countries with the largest economies, have a decisive influence on global and national processes. The conflict of values and interests between the United States and China, as well as their increasing competition in political, security and economic fields, draws almost all countries into possible confrontations. This is especially important for Ukraine, given that the United States has already established itself as a reliable political partner, showing full support for our country, and China, as the largest economic partner, has mostly taken a detached position.  Moreover, there were well-founded fears that authoritarian China would openly support the aggression of terrorist russia.

However, there may be a reverse situation when Ukraine will be in a position to influence the nature of global decisions and become a reason for the rapprochement of the two world superpowers, and the important factors for this will be economic. This is especially true for China, which faces a controversial dilemma of expanding its partnership with russia, thereby exposing it to deteriorating relations with developed countries, or embarking on rapprochement with the United States and in doing so at least ameliorating the losses of the previous five-year trade war.

At the initial stage of russian aggression, China probably did not care much about the Ukrainian dimension. Europe's high dependence on energy resources (primarily oil and gas) on russian exports created the illusion of russian power, and therefore "confidence" in the speedy completion of the russian attack. This is why the shock was even greater when, from the very first days, Ukraine began to give a decent response to the invaders, and developed countries one after another, along with the support of Ukraine, began to impose increasingly severe sanctions against russia. China, as the world's largest exporter and largest recipient of foreign investment (and thus most sensitive to global political and economic unrest), immediately realised the potential perniciousness of "Ukrainian" sanctions that could affect its economy. Indeed, the export of Chinese goods to russia amounted to about $ 70 billion in 2021, while China's exports to the United States and the EU exceeded $ 1 trillion.  It is clear which markets are more important and which of them should not be lost.

Food security is equally important for China. The supplies of wheat and corn from Ukraine and russia to China are crucial for China's domestic consumption.  And the loss of supplies from Ukraine is likely to be critical — no doubt, appropriate sanctions would certainly be imposed in the event of China's open support for russia. Moreover, all logistics chains (including aviation) of China's supplies to European countries (which have already suffered during the coronavirus period) will also be blocked due to the sanctioned blocking of cross-border connections.

On the other hand, the United States has openly hinted to China about the very close political and economic benefits of non-support of russia. First of all, we are talking about the beginning of the process of abolishing high tariffs, the introduction of which marked the beginning of the trade war between the two countries. Along with this, possible resumption and expansion of cooperation in technological areas will become an important factor.

Thus, in the US-China-russia strategic triangle, for China as a global economic center, Ukraine is beginning to play an increasingly crucial role in the country's self-determination and thus in the global configuration of cooperation (primarily between the US and China).  Rational China, of course, will take such factors into account, and with that there is hope that the circle of those who support Ukraine will expand and strengthen.

Vasyl Yurchyshyn

Director, Economic Programmes

Born in 1955 in Kamyanets-Podilskyi.


T. Shevchenko Kyiv State University, Department of Cybernetics (1977).

Institute of Public Administration and Local Government at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (1994).

Professor in Public Administration. Author of nearly 100 scientific works.


In 1977–1993, worked at the Kyiv University as an engineer, research fellow and senior research fellow;

1994–1999 — head economic researcher at the International Centre for Policy Studies, Fund for Banking and Finance Development;

1999–2004 — Assistant Professor, Department of Economic Policy of the Ukrainian (currently, National) Academy of Public Administration, office of the President of Ukraine;

1999–2004 — Research Director at the Agency of Humanitarian Technologies, later — Agency for Social Analysis;

2002–2003 — advisor to the Minister of Economy of Ukraine;

since April, 2004 — Professor, Department of Economic Policy of the National Academy of Public Administration, office of the President of Ukraine;

since June, 2005 — Economic Programmes Director at Razumkov Centre.

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