BEIJING: Beijing told Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday that it understands Moscow’s “reasonable concerns on security issues” over Ukraine, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement, after President Vladimir Putin ordered a attack on the country.
Putin announced on Thursday the launch of a major military offensive with ground troops crossing the country from various directions and explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
World leaders were quick to condemn the attack, and 18 people were killed in an airstrike on a military base near the Black Sea port city of Odessa in Ukraine.
In a phone call between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart, Wang said that while Beijing “has always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries…we have also seen that the problem of Ukraine has its own complicated and unique history.” “.
“We understand Russia’s reasonable concerns on security issues,” he added.
Beijing has been walking a diplomatic tightrope as the Ukraine-Russia crisis intensified, forced to balance its close ties to Russia with major economic interests in Europe.
Russia has demanded guarantees that Kiev will never be allowed to join NATO, and Moscow’s approach stands in stark contrast to China’s long-standing declared foreign policy position of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.
In Thursday’s call, Wang did not mention NATO, but told Sergei Lavrov that China advocates a “balanced” and sustainable European security mechanism to be achieved through dialogue and negotiation.
The Foreign Ministry repeatedly refused to call the attack an “invasion” at a news conference on Thursday and said it was monitoring the situation.
He has not advised his citizens in Ukraine to leave, telling them to be cautious and stick a Chinese flag on their cars.
During the meeting, issues related to bilateral relations, economic cooperation and the regional situation will be discussed.