BEIJING: China is “deeply concerned” that the Ukraine conflict will spiral out of control, foreign minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday, urging certain countries to stop “fueling the fire” in an apparent dig at the US.
Beijing, which signed a “no limits” partnership with Moscow last year, has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The US has warned of repercussions if China provides military assistance to Russia, which Beijing denies.
“China is deeply concerned that the Ukraine conflict will escalate or even spiral out of control,” Qin said at a foreign ministry forum.
In remarks that appeared to be intended for the United States, he added, “We encourage certain countries to immediately cease feeding the fire,” adding that they must “stop hyping up ‘today Ukraine, tomorrow Taiwan’.”
“We firmly oppose any type of hegemony and any foreign meddling in China’s internal affairs.”
Qin made his remarks as China’s top diplomat Wang Yi was scheduled to arrive in Moscow on Tuesday, according to the Russian news agency TASS, and before President Xi Jinping’s anticipated “peace speech” on Friday, the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, China also published a document on the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which is Xi’s leading security initiative and upholds the idea of “indivisible security,” which is supported by Moscow.
Russia has asked that Western leaders uphold a 1999 pact founded on the idea of “indivisible security,” according to which no nation can advance its own security at the expense of another.
During a stopover in Hungary on Monday, Wang advocated for a negotiated end to the Ukraine crisis.
As a show of support on the same day, US Vice President Joe Biden unexpectedly paid a visit to Kyiv. He pledged $500 million in military assistance to Ukraine and more sanctions against Russian elites, which will be fully announced this week.
In keeping with the Kremlin, which refers to the conflict as a “special military operation” meant to safeguard Russia’s own security, Beijing has refrained from denouncing Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine or calling it an “invasion.”
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24 has led to one of the deadliest conflicts in Europe since World War Two and the largest standoff between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
The two biggest nation-state dangers to American security, according to the US, are China and Russia. Xi has supported Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, and has resisted Western demands to isolate Moscow.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a warning on Saturday, telling Wang that “severe implications in our relationship” would result from China considering providing “lethal aid” to Russia.
In an interview with NBC News, Blinken claimed, “There are various forms of lethal support that they are at least contemplating delivering, to include weaponry,” adding that Washington would soon provide additional information.
Josep Borrell, the top diplomat for the European Union, issued a “red line” warning against China arming Russia on Monday, echoing comments made by other European foreign ministers present at a conference in Brussels.
Any Chinese arms shipments to Russia run the risk of escalating the conflict in Ukraine into a conflict between Russia and China on the one side and Ukraine and the NATO military alliance under American leadership on the other.
Beijing has often charged that the United States escalated the crisis by arming Ukraine. Wang stated that the US “should seek a political solution to the situation, instead of adding gasoline to the fire” on Sunday during a meeting with Blinken outside of the Munich Security Conference.