Asia is ‘not a chessboard’ for major powers, China says
Asia is not a “chessboard” on which great powers should confront each other, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said, referring to the geopolitical standoff over Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
On his return from a working trip to Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nepal, Wang told the media on Monday that many developing countries, including those in Southeast Asia, were “highly concerned” about the development of the conflict.
Those nations are “seriously concerned that unilateral sanctions will damage the global industrial chain and supply chain,” the minister said, referring to the harsh restrictions imposed on Moscow by the West in the wake of its “special operation.”
Wang said there was a “general consensus” among Southeast Asian countries that “neither war nor sanctions are good solutions” to the crisis.
“The international community should persuade [each other of the importance of] peace and promote talks, rather than adding fuel to the fire,” he underlined.
The “purposes and principles” of the UN Charter should be respected to safeguard the “sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity” of all nations, with no “double standards” allowed, he added.
“The security of one country cannot be at the expense of compromising the security of other countries, and regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening military blocs,” Wang said.
He urged the international community to avoid adopting “the simplistic approach of being either an enemy or a friend” or reviving any Cold War mentality.
“Asia refuses to be a chessboard for great powers to play against, and Asian countries are by no means pawns for great powers to confront each other with,” he said.
The minister’s remarks came amid persistent warnings from Washington and NATO that China should refrain from providing any military or economic assistance to Russia or be prepared to face the “consequences.”
Beijing has consistently denied any allegations that it is providing such support, accusing the West of spreading disinformation.
Despite voicing support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, China has not flatly condemned Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, stating instead that Moscow had legitimate concerns that needed to be addressed.
Beijing has criticized the sanctions Western nations have imposed on Moscow, arguing that they are causing “unnecessary harm” to Russia and also impacting China’s trade ties with its partner.
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and end the conflict with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia ended up recognizing the two as independent states, at which point they asked for military aid.
Russia demands that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the Donbass by force.