Photo by Alejandro Luengo on Unsplash

At a press conference, the Chinese ambassador in Ukraine made it clear that China is very interested in Ukraine and, among other things, might invest in the Ukrainian infrastructure. The countries are also working on a free visa regime. 

China will soon sign a deal with Ukraine about investments in infrastructure, according to Ukrinform. It became clear yesterday at a press conference with Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine Fan Xiangong, who said that the relationship between China and Ukraine would need to be strengthened. The two countries, therefore, are looking to do more deals. 

It is still unclear in which infrastructure projects and how much the Chinese are willing to invest, but Xiangong promised to reveal more in the coming days. 

“We are now working with your government to do more. I think in a couple of days, you will see the result of these efforts – we will sign something good; it will be a new form of Chinese participation in the construction of infrastructure in Ukraine,” said Xiangong.

The Chinese press conference comes after new numbers show a big increase in trade turnover between the two countries. China is Ukraine’s largest trading partner after the EU, and trade turnover between the two countries increased by 48 percent in the first five months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. The press conference also took place to mark the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between the two countries’.

A visa-free regime

The Chinese ambassador said that China is very interested in importing more from the Ukrainian agricultural sector, such as wheat and sunflower oil. In 2020, Ukraine’s trade turnover with China increased to 15.4 billion dollars from 12.7 billion in 2019. 

“We are ready to buy more products from Ukraine. The Chinese market is open for Ukraine,” the ambassador said. 

Xiangong also said that China and Ukraine are looking at introducing a visa-free agreement between Ukraine and China, Ukrinform reported. The hope is that it will bring more tourists to both countries and strengthen ties between them. 

“Your President has signed an order to grant our citizens (temporary – ed.) visa-free regime. He wants the citizens of our countries to travel to each other as comfortably as possible. This is a very good idea, so now we are actively working to sign an intergovernmental agreement on visa-free travel between China and Ukraine,” Xiangong said and pointed out that China and Ukraine also discuss starting direct flights.

Motor Sich was also mentioned

While trade between China and Ukraine has blossomed in recent years, the two countries’ relationship has taken a turn for the worse in recent months. In February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decided to side with the Americans over the Chinese in a dispute over the takeover of the Ukrainian company Motor Sich, which produces engines for army helicopters and airplanes. The Americans wanted to stop the Chinese takeover of the company because they were concerned that the technology could enhance the Chinese military capabilities. After several years of debate, Zelensky decided to side with the Americans in February, resulting in a sharp response from China. 

China has sued Ukraine for damages related to the company’s takeover, and the relationship between Ukraine and China has suffered as a result. Xiangong also commented on the situation during the press conference, according to Ukrinform. 

“Many people in the world, and, of course, in China, are watching the fate of this project (Motor Sichi – ed.) and whether there will be a fair, rational solution to the issue… Any decisions have corresponding consequences; I am sure that the Ukrainian side understands this. We have relevant contacts. The Ukrainian side assures us that it will adequately protect the legitimate interests of Chinese investors (Motor Sichi – ed.),” Xiangong said.