China responds to sanctions threat
While stating that China will stand up for its legitimate economic interests in the face of Western sanctions, the country’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, has refuted the notion that Beijing is taking Russia’s side in the Ukrainian conflict.
“China is not a party to the [Ukrainian] crisis, nor does it want the sanctions to affect China. China has the right to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests,” insisted Wang Yi on Monday during a phone call with his Spanish counterpart José Manuel Albares Bueno.
The Chinese foreign minister called on Moscow and Kiev to engage in dialogue to prevent further escalation, saying only diplomacy can “open the door to peace.”
“China has been promoting peace talks in its own way since the very beginning of the Ukraine crisis. We hope that the fourth round of Russia-Ukraine peace talks can achieve new progress acceptable to all parties,” the official statement read.
The country’s top diplomat also explained that Beijing sees the current crisis as an outcome of Europe’s multiple security conflicts accumulating over the years. He argued that to resolve the conflict legitimate security concerns of all involved parties should be addressed.
While calling for peace and encouraging the belligerents to reach a ceasefire, Beijing adamantly condemned Western sanctions designed to punish Moscow for its military action.
“China always opposes the use of sanctions to solve problems, let alone unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law, as such moves will undermine international rules and harm the people's well-being in all countries,” Wang Yi said.
The United States and its European allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia targeting its banking system, energy exports, and technological development after Moscow launched its military offensive in late February.
Having assumed that Beijing will try to help Moscow to override the restrictions, Washington has threatened to shut down Chinese chip manufacturers if they continue trading with Russian companies.
Earlier, quoting an anonymous US official, The Washington Post reported that Moscow has requested military aid from China to conduct its operation in Ukraine. The story was denied by both Russian and Chinese officials.
“Some forces continue to smear China's objective and fair position on the Ukraine issue by creating all kinds of false information,” Wang Yi said.