China Speaks Up on Ukraine 'Situation'

Beijing offers to mediate, continues policy of not faulting Russia over invasion of Ukraine
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2022 10:30 AM CST
China Speaks Up on Ukraine 'Situation'
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a remote video press conference held on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China's National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing on Monday.   (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

In China's view, what's happening in Ukraine is neither a war nor an invasion but a complex "situation." That was the word used by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday as he announced that Beijing was willing to mediate, reports Reuters. "Three feet of ice does not form in a single day," said Wang, citing a traditional Chinese expression as he spoke about the "complex" causes of the conflict. More:

  • Strong ties: Wang made clear that Beijing views Russia as a strong ally. In fact, he described Moscow as China's “most important strategic partner," per the AP. He also stuck with China's policy of not criticizing Russia's actions in Ukraine. "The friendship between the two peoples is ironclad," he said, adding that no matter what happens, the "China-Russia partnership" will endure.

  • Mediation: For the first time, China offered to get directly involved in talks, reports the Washington Post. "China is willing to continue playing a constructive role in urging peace talks and is willing when necessary to work together with the international community to launch required mediation," said Wang. Last week, a top EU official said "it must be China" in regard to negotiating a peace deal, notes the Post.
  • Earlier meeting: Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Feb. 4, and they issued a joint statement afterward affirming "strong mutual support for the protection of their core interests." Specifically, Russia backed China's view that Taiwan is an "inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan." China, meanwhile, supported Russia's opposition of NATO expansion. On Monday, Wang rejected a comparison between Taiwan and Ukraine, because Taiwan is "an inalienable part of China's territory."

  • Context: The Wall Street Journal has an analysis providing a 30,000-foot view of the shifting global politics at play among China, Russia, and the US. The circumstances have changed drastically since the dawn of the Cold War, writes Michael R. Gordon: "Russia and China have built a thriving partnership based in part on a shared interest in diminishing US power. Unlike the Sino-Soviet bloc of the 1950s, Russia is a critical gas supplier to Europe, while China isn't an impoverished, war-ravaged partner but the world's manufacturing powerhouse with an expanding military."
(Read more China stories.)

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