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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Xi instructed to “support Russia” over Western sanctions

  • February 28, 2022
  • , Yomiuri , p. 7
  • JMH Translation
  • ,

By Oki Seima

 

BEIJING — In reference to Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave instructions to support Russia while refraining from expressing his own attitude toward the invasion, a Chinese government source told the Yomiuri Shimbun on Feb. 27. The Xi administration is reinforcing its pro-Russia posture to maintain its cooperation with the Kremlin with the medium- to long-term confrontation with the U.S. in mind.

 

According to sources, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Feb. 24 held an emergency meeting attended by State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, the state security minister, the commerce minister, and senior military officials to discuss China’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Xi said, “China will not express its attitude (toward the military invasion of Ukraine) for the time being because Russia has never expressed support for the unification of Taiwan by force.” He also gave instructions to “support Russia, which is under illegal sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the UK, in terms of economy and trade.”

 

Xi also called on the meeting’s participants to maintain relations with the UK, France, and Germany and to ensure the safety and interests of Chinese companies operating in Ukraine. He also instructed them to conduct research on Russian military’s operations.

 

On Feb. 25, one day after the meeting, Xi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone and expressed understanding for Russia’s position, saying, “The legitimate security concerns of all parties should be emphasized and respected.” Wang also held separate talks with the foreign ministers of the UK, France, Germany, and the European Union (EU) on Feb. 25 and 26 and called for “the proper resolution of Russia’s security demands” and “consistent opposition to a resolution based on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which authorizes the use of force and sanctions.”

 

In the announcement dated Feb. 23, China’s General Administration of Customs completely lifted restrictions on imports of Russian wheat, which it partially banned due to concerns about blight. China also agreed with Russia to increase the use of their national currencies in mutual settlements and to increase natural gas supplies to China during a summit meeting held in Beijing on Feb. 4 in a move to support Russia to offset the impact of Western sanctions.

 

According to the online edition of The New York Times dated Feb. 25, the U.S. urged Wang and other Chinese government officials to dissuade Russia from invading [Ukraine] multiple times before the Russian military’s actual invasion [of Ukraine], but the Chinese officials rebuffed the request.

 

A diplomatic source in Beijing said: “Russia launched the invasion because it was confident that China would not oppose it. China is practically encouraging Russia.”

 

 

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