China calls for “dialogue” and “negotiation” in the face of Putin’s war escalation in Ukraine | International
China has demanded this Wednesday “dialogue” between the parties to resolve “the crisis [de Ucrania] peaceably”. “We call on the parties involved to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a routine appearance, but marked by the escalation of the war in Europe.
In response to the words of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who announced on Wednesday that he will use “all means” at his disposal to defend the territorial integrity of his country, and has ordered the partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists with military experience to stop the counterattack from the Ukrainian ranks, Beijing has called for a solution “that takes into account the legitimate security concerns of all parties” and has asked the international community to “create the conditions and the space for it”.
The position of the Asian giant has not changed, “it is consistent and clear”, added the spokesman, who has replied with almost identical words to the announcement of referendums to join Russia of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. “We believe that all countries deserve to have their sovereignty and territorial integrity respected”, he continued, “that the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations must be observed, that the legitimate security concerns of any country must be taken seriously and that all efforts leading to the peaceful resolution of the crisis should be supported.”
Since the beginning of the war, Beijing has maintained a calculated distance from Moscow, without giving military or material support to Russia, and without avoiding the battery of Western reprisals against the Putin regime. But at the same time, without condemning the invasion or mentioning the existence of a “war”: he usually calls it a “crisis” or even “the question”, words that the spokesman used this Wednesday.
Ambiguous balance tilted towards Moscow
This ambiguous balance tilted towards Russia is largely sustained by the “limitless” friendship between the two countries that was signed by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and his Russian counterpart, during a meeting in Beijing, 20 days before Moscow ordered his soldiers enter the Ukraine.
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Shortly after the war broke out, China abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly on a resolution condemning the invasion that urged Moscow to withdraw immediately and unconditionally from the neighboring country. The non-binding initiative came out with 141 votes in favor, five against (Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Russia and Syria) and 35 abstentions, including those of the two Asian giants, China and India.
Last week, however, a rift opened between the two countries, when Putin first acknowledged China’s “concerns” about Ukraine. “We understand your questions and concerns,” he told Xi during a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in their first face-to-face since the outbreak of the war. The Russian president’s words for the first time hinted at Beijing’s concern about the dispute. The Chinese president, on the other hand, did not refer to Ukraine throughout the interview, according to the official reading provided by Beijing.
The Foreign Ministry of this country, which sculpts China’s position in international affairs through daily appearances by its spokesmen, has hardly moved from the script since the invasion. Whenever he is questioned about Russia and Ukraine, he replies that her position remains “consistent.” He did it in March: “The most urgent thing is that all parties cease fire and end the fighting as soon as possible.” Also in August: “We urge the parties involved to cease hostilities through dialogue and negotiation.”
And again last week, before the confrontation between Putin and Xi: “We call on the parties involved to carry out a ceasefire through dialogue and negotiation and find a way to accommodate the legitimate concerns of safety of all parties involved as soon as possible. Likewise, we hope that the international community will create the conditions and the space for it.” A position, reiterated once again spokeswoman Mao Ning, “coherent.”
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