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China Resists Blinken’s Pressure To Take US Side On Donbas, Urges Calm

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

China has weighed in for the first time Tuesday after Vladimir Putin's Monday night speech wherein he issued Russia's formal recognition of independence for Ukrainian separatist regions Donetsk and Luhansk, followed by a quick signing ceremony and with what have been billed "peacekeeping forces" entering the war-torn eastern Ukraine republics overnight. 

In his official comments, Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged calm and a lowering of tensions in the region, calling for "dialogue and negotiations". His words carried in state media underscored that China's stance on the Ukraine issue is consistent, noting that "The legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected," according to a readout in state-run Global Times

Though vague and ambiguous, the choice of emphasizing "security concerns" echoes Moscow's stance vis-a-vis NATO. Notably there was no use of the words 'respecting sovereignty' which would have been a nod more in Ukraine's and the West's direction.

The senior Chinese diplomat said, "China once again calls on all parties to exercise restraint, recognize the importance of implementing the indivisible security principle, ease the situation and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation."

 GT further noted that China's representative at the UN also made Beijing's concerns known in Monday night's emergency Security Council meeting

Chinese Ambassador to UN Zhang Jun also called on all parties relevant on the Ukraine situation to continue dialogue and consultation and seek reasonable solutions to address each other's concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect at an emergency Security Council meeting on the Ukraine situation.

But interestingly, in a scheduled phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Ukraine crisis and Russia's entry into the Donbas was not raised by the Chinese side. Instead the Chinese official's words were focused on regional tensions, particularly defusing the North Korea situation. However, Blinken did press the issue, with the US call readout framing that part of the conversation and Blinken raising "Russia’s aggression against Ukraine". Wang reportedly sidestepped efforts by the US Secretary of State to side with the US position. According to his full words as reported in the South China Morning Post:

“China is concerned about the evolving situation in Ukraine,” Wang said, reiterating that China’s stance on the matter had not changed and that “every country’s security concern should be respected”.

“The fact that the Ukraine crisis has evolved to this stage is related to the delayed implementation of the Minsk agreement,” Wang said, referring to the protocol signed in 2014 and 2015 whose clause would rule out foreign armed formations, including Nato, equipment and mercenaries.



“China will continue to stick to the facts and be in touch with all parties. The situation in Ukraine is worsening. China would call upon all parties to be restrained and to recognise the universal importance of security for all, and to de-escalate tensions through dialogues,” Wang said.

Additionally, "Wang and Blinken discussed Ukraine and North Korea issues during the Tuesday phone call," Bloomberg cited a Chinese foreign ministry statement to say. "Wang said the U.S. should attach importance to the reasonable concerns of North Korea; China hopes U.S. and North Korea start direct dialogue."

The two top diplomats also discussed US-China relations, with Wang saying, "China once again urges the US to take concrete actions to reflect on the series of commitments made by President Biden," in reference to the virtual summit to two held. Blinken as is typical reiterated the US official stance that it is not seeking conflict with China and further that it opposes Taiwan independence and wishes to maintain the status quo. 

On the Ukraine issue, Russia's independence recognition of the two breakaway republics could introduce further tension into the US-China relationship, given it's widely perceived that Putin may have gotten a nod from Beijing that China would ultimately back Moscow if the latter took a more muscular approach to the crisis. 


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