China’s Xi says talks, not sanctions, should resolve disputes

Remarks seen as confirmation that China will stick to stance of not criticising Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping said his government supports negotiations and opposes the “wanton use” of sanctions to resolve international disputes, remarks seen as confirming that China is sticking to its stance of refusing to criticise Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Despite mounting evidence of possible war crimes committed by Russian forces, Beijing has refused to condemn Moscow’s war on its neighbour and has abstained or voted with Russia on proposals brought before the UN to censure the Kremlin for its actions.

China’s state-controlled media has also amplified Russian disinformation about Ukraine staging attacks and producing biological weapons with US cooperation.

Xi said on Thursday that China rejects “double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction”.

“We stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises,” Xi said in a televised address to an international forum in Hainan province.

The Chinese leader also said that Beijing remains “committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries” and non-interference in their internal affairs.

China is believed to be studying the Ukraine crisis for how it might later affect its policy towards Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy Beijing has threatened to invade to bring it under its control.

Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949, but China claims the island as its own territory.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also said on Thursday that China has “always opposed unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction that lack a basis in international law and are not authorised by the (UN) Security Council”.

“Sanctions are not the right way to de-escalate tensions, end wars or avoid casualties, but will only exacerbate conflicts, increase spillover and make the world pay more,” Wang said.

Xi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing less than a month before Russia launched its February 24 invasion, during which the two leaders issued a joint statement affirming their “no limits” relationship.

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