China’s cooperation with Europe ‘endless’ like Russia ties: Envoy

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China’s cooperation with Europe and other nations is “endless” just as its ties with Russia are “unlimited,” China’s envoy to the European Union said, giving some reassurance of China’s neutrality over Ukraine in an interview published on Monday.

It was unclear when Fu Cong, the Chinese ambassador to the EU, gave the interview to the Chinese news outlet The Paper.

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But its publication comes hard on the heels of controversial remarks by China’s ambassador to France, who questioned the sovereignty of former Soviet Union states including Ukraine during an interview with French television on Friday.

Various EU diplomats have slammed China for its refusal to describe Russia’s war on Ukraine as an invasion or call for a Russian withdrawal, noting that Beijing and Moscow declared a “no limits” partnership just days before Russian troops launched their attack on Ukraine.

“The European side should correctly understand the reference to ‘no upper limit’,” Fu told the newspaper. “Friendship and cooperation among countries are endless and should not be artificially limited. Sino-Russian cooperation is “unlimited”, and the same is true for China and Europe.”

Fu warned against “attempts” to use Sino-Russian relations to sow discord between China and Europe, rejecting talk that China had “prior knowledge” of the Ukraine conflict or has been supplying weapons.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said last month that it would be “extremely difficult” for the EU to maintain a relationship of trust with China if China does not contribute to the search for a political solution based on Russia’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian territory.

And earlier this month, Borrell said: “Neutrality in the face of the violation of international law is not credible.”

China’s naval and air force drills in the Taiwan Strait and around the island of democratically governed Taiwan, which China claims as its own, have also drawn criticism from Europe.

On Sunday, in an opinion piece in French newspaper Le Journal Du Dimanche, Borrell called on European navies to patrol the Taiwan Strait.

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