Russia Ukraine conflict

China FM Wang says friendship with Russia ‘rock-solid,’ open to mediating on Ukraine

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday stressed that the friendship between Beijing and Moscow was still very strong, despite international condemnation of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as he said China was open to helping mediate peace.

Beijing has walked a tight diplomatic tightrope throughout the crisis, refusing to condemn its close ally Moscow after only last month touting a “no limits” strategic partnership between the two countries.

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“The friendship between the two peoples is rock-solid, and both sides’ future cooperation prospects are very vast,” said Wang at an annual press briefing.

But he said China was “willing to work with the international community to carry out necessary mediation, when necessary”.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said last week that China should mediate future peace talks between Russia and Ukraine as Western powers cannot fulfil the role, in an interview with Spanish daily El Mundo.

Beijing has repeatedly said it would play a “constructive role in calling for negotiations” to resolve the crisis, but has not previously committed to joining or hosting any peace talks.

Wang also said that the Red Cross will provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine “as soon as possible.”

China has refused to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine or call it an invasion while asking Western countries to respect Russia’s “legitimate security concerns.”

Wang said the causes of the “Ukraine situation” were “complex” and had not happened overnight.

“Solving complex problems requires calmness and rationality, rather than adding fuel to the fire and intensifying contradictions,” he told a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s parliament.

China is willing to continue to make its own efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis and the country’s Red Cross will “as soon as possible” provide a batch of aid to Ukraine, Wang said, without giving details.

He also described the China-Russia relationship as “the world’s most crucial bilateral relationship”, which “is conducive to world peace, stability and development.”

The foreign minister referred to last month’s partnership commitment as “clearly and unmistakably showing the world” that both countries “jointly oppose the revival of the Cold War mentality and stoking ideological confrontations.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Chinese President Xi Jinping hours before the start of last month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing and they signed a wide-ranging strategic partnership aimed at countering US influence and said they would have “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.”

Wang also said the informal alliance would “not brook interference by third parties,” in a warning to the United States and its Western allies who in recent days have lobbied China to play a more active role in mediating the conflict.

Wang said the friendship between China and Russia was “rock solid” and prospects for cooperation bright.

“No matter how sinister the international situation is, both China and Russia will maintain their strategic determination and continuously push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era.”

Read more: Russian military to hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in Ukraine: Report

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