China: Russia remains ‘strategic partner’ amidst Ukraine war
BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese Foreign Minister on Monday called Russia Beijing’s “most important strategic partner” amid China’s continued refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.
Wang Yi said ties with Moscow constituted “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world.”
China has broken with the U.S., Europe and others that have imposed sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has said sanctions create new issues and threaten a political settlement of the conflict.
“No matter how perilous the international landscape, we will maintain our strategic focus and promote the development of a comprehensive China-Russia partnership in the new era,” Wang told reporters at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s ceremonial parliament.
“The friendship between the two peoples is iron clad,” he added.
Much attention has been paid to a meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Feb. 4, after which a joint statement was issued affirming “strong mutual support for the protection of their core interests.”
Russia endorsed China’s view of self-governing Taiwan as an “inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan,” while China backed Russia in opposing the further enlargement of NATO.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has drawn comparisons to China’s own threat to invade Taiwan in order to bring what it considers a wayward province under its control.
However, Wang said Taiwan was a “fundamentally different” issue from Ukraine because the island is “an inalienable part of China’s territory.”
“Some people, while being vocal about the principle of sovereignty on the Ukraine issue, have kept undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Taiwan question. This is a blatant double standards,” Wang said in a less-than-subtle dig at Taiwan’s ally, the U.S.
CHINA AND RUSSIA VS THE WEST
China and Russia have increasingly aligned their foreign policies against the liberal Western order and their militaries have carried out exercises together and flown joint air patrols, as their relationship has taken on the trappings of an informal alliance.
During an hour-long phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday, Wang said China opposes any moves that “add fuel to the flames” in Ukraine.
Wang called for negotiations to resolve the immediate crisis, as well as talks on creating a balanced European security mechanism. He said the U.S. and Europe should pay attention to the negative impact of NATO’s eastward expansion on Russia’s security.
Chinese state-controlled media outlets have been told to post only pro-Russian content and to censor anti-Russian or pro-Western views, according to a copy of instructions that appeared on the social media account of the newspaper Beijing News. The post was later deleted.
Online and in Chinese social media, expressions of sympathy for Ukraine and support for Russia appear but not criticism of Moscow.
The state-run newspaper Capital News appeared to support Putin’s demand that Ukraine become a neutral buffer between Russia and Europe and give up the possibility of NATO membership.
“Ukraine should be a bridge between East and West, rather than a frontier of confrontation between major powers,” Capital News said.
China calls Russia its chief ‘strategic partner’ despite war The Associated Press – en Español