February 26. 2024. 4:40

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China says certain countries must stop ‘fuelling the fire’ in Ukraine


China is “deeply worried” that the Ukraine conflict could spiral out of control, foreign minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday (21 February), and called on certain countries to stop “fuelling the fire” in an apparent dig at the United States.

Beijing, which last year struck a “no limits” partnership with Moscow, has refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States has warned of consequences if China provides military support to Russia, which Beijing says it is not doing.

“China is deeply worried that the Ukraine conflict will continue to escalate or even spiral out of control” Qin said in a speech at a forum held at the foreign ministry.

“We urge certain countries to immediately stop fuelling the fire,” he said in comments that appeared to be directed at the United States, adding that they must “stop hyping up ‘today Ukraine, tomorrow Taiwan’”.

“We stand firmly against any form of hegemony, against any foreign interference in China’s affairs.”

Qin’s comments came as Russia’s news agency TASS said China’s top diplomat Wang Yi was due to arrive in Moscow on Tuesday and ahead of a “peace speech” President Xi Jinping is expected to deliver on Friday, the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion.

Russian President Valdimir Putin is also due to make a major speech on Tuesday, setting out aims for the second year of his invasion of Ukraine.

Putin set for major Ukraine war speech after Biden walks streets of Kyiv

Vladimir Putin is due to make a speech on 21 February setting out aims for the second year of his invasion, a day after the US President walked the streets of Kyiv promising to stand with Ukraine as long as it takes.

Also on Tuesday, China released a paper on the Global Security Initiative (GSI), Xi’s flagship security proposal which aims to uphold the principle of “indivisible security”, a concept endorsed by Moscow.

Russia has insisted that Western governments respect a 1999 agreement based on the principle of “indivisible security” that no country can strengthen its own security at the expense of others.

On Monday, Wang called for a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war during a stopover in Hungary.

The same day, US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv in a show of solidarity, promising $500 million worth of military aid to Ukraine and additional sanctions against Russian elites to be unveiled in full this week.

Beijing has refrained from condemning Moscow’s operation against Ukraine or calling it an “invasion” in line with the Kremlin, which describes the war as a “special military operation” designed to protect Russia’s own security.

Russia’s 24 February invasion of Ukraine has triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

‘Lethal weapons’

The United States casts China and Russia as the two biggest nation-state threats to its security. Xi has stood by Russian President Vladimir Putin, resisting Western pressure to isolate Moscow

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Saturday that the United States was very concerned China is considering providing “lethal assistance” to Russia, which he told Wang “would have serious consequences in our relationship.”

In meeting, Blinken warns China’s Wang Yi against aiding Russia in Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday (18 February) warned top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi of consequences should China provide material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“There are various kinds of lethal assistance that they are at least contemplating providing, to include weapons,” Blinken said in an interview with NBC News, adding that Washington would soon release more details.

The European Union’s top foreign affairs official Josep Borrell on Monday warned against China sending arms to Russia, saying it would be a “red line”, echoing statements from other European foreign ministers attending a meeting in Brussels.

Any Chinese weapons supplies to Russia would risk a potential escalation of the Ukraine war into a confrontation between Russia and China on the one side and Ukraine and the US-led NATO military alliance on the other.

Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of escalating the conflict by supplying weapons to Ukraine. On Sunday during a meeting with Blinken on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Wang said the US “should promote a political solution to the crisis, instead of adding fuel to the fire”.

China plans to present proposal for Ukraine-Russia peace talks

China will present its own proposal for a political settlement of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the country’s top diplomat Wang Yi told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday (18 February).