Times Standard (Eureka)

China says it’s seeking role in Ukraine peace settlement


BEIJING >> The foreign minister of China, which has provided strong political backing for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, said Tuesday his country wants to play a role in ending the conflict.

Qin Gang told participan­ts at a security conference in Beijing that China was concerned the almost year-long war could escalate further and spin “out of control.”

China would continue to urge peace talks and provide “Chinese wisdom” to bring about a political settlement, he said.

“At the same time, we urge relevant countries to immediatel­y stop adding fuel to the fire, stop shifting blames to China, and stop hyping up the discourse of Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow,” Qin said in an apparent reference to military support provided to Ukraine by the United States and its allies, as well as concerns that China is preparing to make good on its threats to use force to assert its claim to sovereignt­y over Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy.

China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion or atrocities against Ukrainian civilians and strongly criticized Western economic sanctions against Moscow. In deference to Moscow, it has yet to describe the conflict as an invasion.

China and Russia have aligned their foreign policies to oppose the U.S. and, weeks before the Ukraine invasion, their leaders declared a partnershi­p with “no limits.” China also says Russia was provoked into using military force by NATO’s eastward expansion.

Despite that, Qin reiterated China’s claim that it has “always taken an objective and impartial stance based on the merits of the issue.”

“China is deeply worried about the escalation of the situation and even the possibilit­y of it going out of control,”

Qin said. He said Chinese President Xi Jinping had put forward proposals that have “played a responsibl­e and constructi­ve role in easing the situation and deescalati­ng the crisis,” without offering any details or evidence.

“We will continue to promote peace talks, provide Chinese wisdom for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, and work with the internatio­nal community to promote dialogue and consultati­on to address the concerns of all parties and seek common security,” Qin said.

China has opposed criticism of Russia at the United Nations, while insisting that the sovereignt­y and territoria­l integrity of all nations be respected, a position that underpins its claim to Taiwan, which separated from the mainland amid civil war more than 70 years ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin could meet with the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy chief Wang Yi in Moscow, the Kremlin said Monday.

Kremlin spokespers­on Dmitry Peskov hailed Russia-China ties as “multidimen­sional and allied in nature.”

That statement coincided with U.S. President Joe Biden’s unannounce­d visit to Ukraine on Monday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and show support for Kyiv days ahead of the one-year anniversar­y of Russia’s invasion.

Wang’s trip to Russia follows talks Saturday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of an internatio­nal security conference in Munich. Blinken said he reiterated to Wang that any Chinese material support for the Russian armed forces would trigger a strong response from Washington. Thus far, the U.S. says there are no indication­s that China is doing so, although its close economic ties with Russia have offered a lifeline to Putin’s regime.

 ?? ANDY WONG — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang gestures at a forum at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing on Tuesday.
ANDY WONG — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang gestures at a forum at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing on Tuesday.

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