Chinese President Xi calls for talks to settle disputes, opposes sanctions

BEIJING — Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Thursday his government supports talks to resolve international disputes and opposes the “gratuitous use” of sanctions.

Xi’s remarks confirm that China is sticking to its stance of refusing to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine despite the conflict’s impact on the Ukrainian people and global security.

Beijing declined to call the conflict an invasion and said Russia was provoked by NATO expansion.

Despite this, Xi said China remains “committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries” and non-interference in their internal affairs.

“We remain committed to peacefully resolving disputes and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the gratuitous use of unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction,” Xi said in a televised address to an international forum in the southern island province of Hainan.

China has abstained or voted with Russia on recent proposals presented to the United Nations, and Chinese state-controlled media have amplified Russian disinformation about Ukraine staging attacks and producing bioweapons with cooperation. the United States.

Xi met Putin in Beijing less than a month before Russia launched its invasion on February 24, with the two sides issuing a joint statement affirming their “boundless” relationship.

China has maintained its support for Moscow despite possible war crimes committed by Russian troops and says it maintains normal economic ties between the countries despite the imposition of economic sanctions by other nations.

China is also believed to be studying the Ukraine crisis to find out how it might later affect its policy towards Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy it is threatening to invade to bring it under its own control. Taiwan and China separated in a civil war in 1949, but China claims the island as its own territory.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday for the first time since he became Pentagon chief more than a year ago, ending a communications stalemate that the American officials considered it increasingly dangerous.

Austin, who calls China the U.S. military‘s biggest long-term challenge but has been forced to focus heavily on Russia this year, requested the phone conversation with Gen. Wei Fenghe after months of unsuccessful efforts to speak with General Xu Qiliang, the highest ranking. uniformed officer in the military structure of the Communist Party.

In a daily briefing on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China has “always opposed unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction that have no basis in international law and are not authorized by the (United Nations) Security Council”.

“Sanctions are not the right way to defuse tensions, end wars or avert casualties, but they will only exacerbate conflicts, increase fallout and make the world pay more,” Wang said. .

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