BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, said on Tuesday that China was “very concerned” that the Ukraine conflict could spiral out of control and called on some countries to stop “fanning the fire” over what appeared to be drilling in the region. United State.
Beijing, which last year forged a “borderless” partnership with Moscow, has refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States has warned of consequences if China provides military support to Russia, which Beijing says it does not.
“China is very concerned that the Ukraine conflict will continue to escalate or even get out of control,” Chen said in a speech at a forum held at the Foreign Ministry.
“We urge certain countries to immediately stop fanning the fire,” he said in remarks that appeared to be directed at the United States, adding that they should “stop dramatizing ‘today Ukraine and tomorrow Taiwan'”.
“We stand firmly against any form of hegemony and any foreign interference in China’s affairs,” he added.
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Chen’s comments came as Russia’s Tass news agency said China’s top diplomat Wang Yi was due in Moscow on Tuesday and ahead of a “peace speech” that President Xi Jinping is expected to deliver on Friday, the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion.
Also on Tuesday, China released a paper on the Global Security Initiative (GSI), Xi’s flagship security proposal that aims to uphold the principle of “indivisible security,” a concept endorsed by Moscow.
Russia insisted that Western governments respect the 1999 agreement based on the principle of “indivisible security,” according to which no country can enhance its security at the expense of others.
On Monday, Wang called for a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war during his stopover in Hungary.
On the same day, US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev in an expression of solidarity, promising $500 million in military aid to Ukraine and additional sanctions against Russian elites that will be fully revealed this week.
Beijing has refrained from condemning Moscow’s operation against Ukraine or describing it as an “invasion”, in line with the Kremlin’s stance, which describes the war as a “special military operation” aimed at protecting Russia’s security.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 triggered one of Europe’s deadliest conflicts since World War II and the largest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
The United States considers China and Russia the two greatest threats to its security. Xi has stood by Russian President Vladimir Putin, resisting Western pressure to isolate Moscow
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Saturday that the United States is deeply concerned that China is considering providing “lethal aid” to Russia, which Wang said “would have disastrous consequences for our relationship.”
“There are different types of lethal assistance that they’re considering at least including weapons,” Blinken said in an interview with NBC News, adding that Washington would soon release more details.
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top foreign affairs official, on Monday warned that China sending weapons to Russia would be a “red line”, echoing comments from other European foreign ministers who attended a meeting in Brussels.
Any Chinese arms supply to Russia would risk a potential escalation of the Ukraine war into a confrontation between Russia and China on one side and Ukraine and the US-led military alliance NATO on the other.
Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of escalating the conflict by supplying arms to Ukraine. On Sunday during a meeting with Blinken on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Wang said the United States “should promote a political solution to the crisis, rather than pouring fuel on the fire.”
(Reporting by Martin Pollard, Lori Chen). By Bernard Orr; Edited by Shri Navaratnam
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