Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Chinese Bid for Ukraine’s Aerospace ‘Jewel’ Could Knock Kyiv Out of NATO’s Orbit

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The fate of Motor Sich, one of the world’s top makers of helicopter and airplane engines, hangs in the balance. And with it, the very future of Ukraine.

A stalled Chinese bid to buy a privately-held but strategically important aerospace firm in Ukraine could, if green-lighted, boost Beijing’s military capability and geopolitical aspirations, while throwing whatever hopes Ukraine has to join NATO and the European Union into a tailspin.

Svetlana Kushnir, a Ukrainian political consultant and co-founder of the NGO ReputationLab, calls Motor Sich a “national jewel.” She told The Epoch Times the company is a hot item, with China, Russia, and the United States—and Ukraine stuck in the middle—all in contention.

The three rivals—the resurgent superpower, the rising superpower, and the established superpower—want to either import from Motor Sich, buy it, or keep a rival from buying it.

Former president of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko (L) examines a turbo-jet engine while talking to Motor Sich CEO Vyacheslav Boguslayev, at the company’s plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Feb. 1, 2006. (Mykola Lazarenko/AFP/Getty Images)

China has offered to buy 50 percent of Motor Sich for a reported $100 million, using it as an opportunity to acquire top-tier technology, expand its footprint in Europe, and get a leg up in defense.

Beijing Skyrizon Aviation, one of the bidding companies with links to the Chinese Communist Party, has already built a Motor Sich factory in China, according to a Motor Sich official cited by The Wall Street Journal. The facility, located in Chongqing, remains inactive.

The United States, which is trying to block its sale to China, is considering Motor Sich for funding by a new investment vehicle designed to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) push.

Ukraine, meanwhile, wants to keep its aerospace jewel, and various authorities, including the anti-monopoly bureau and the courts, have blocked the sale.

Bohdan Ben, a Ukrainian journalist and researcher, told The Epoch Times that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—the final arbiter to the…

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