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7 Mar, 2022 13:22

Australia demands China end ‘chilling silence’

Canberra said the world risks being reshaped by a Moscow-Beijing ‘arc of autocracy’
Australia demands China end ‘chilling silence’

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on China to end its “chilling silence” over Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, stating that “no country in the world will have a bigger impact” on bringing the conflict to an end.

Speaking at the Lowy Institute think tank in Sydney on Monday, Morrison warned that, without Beijing directly condemning Moscow’s actions, the world risks being reshaped by an “arc of autocracy” due to China and Russia’s relationship.

“I was listening for the voice of the Chinese government when it came to condemning the actions of Russia and there was a chilling silence,” Morrison declared.

“China has long-claimed to have a role as one of the major powers in the world and to be a contributor to global peace and stability,” the prime minister added, urging Beijing to step up and act amid the escalating conflict.

Blasting President Vladimir Putin, Morrison claimed that Russia’s offensive in Ukraine was not going as planned, claiming the Kremlin had “overestimated the capacity” of how it might be able to fulfill its military objectives.

The criticism from Morrison comes despite Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claiming on Monday that Beijing is ready to facilitate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

“The wider the disagreement, the greater the need to sit down and have negotiation,” Wang said, offering China as a mediator if necessary. However, he did not specify if a formal offer had been made to Russia and Ukraine, or whether Beijing had received a response from either side.

Wang told reporters China believes that to resolve the conflict, both nations must work together diplomatically to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. He also said the “legitimate security concerns” of both parties involved must be taken into account.

The Chinese foreign minister stated that his country will provide aid to Ukraine in the near future, with the Red Cross Society of China preparing to send humanitarian assistance.