During a phone call Friday afternoon, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Russia’s Vladimir Putin to resolve the Ukraine conflict through negotiation, according to state-run media in China.
According to a summary of the call broadcast on CCTV and cited by news agency Xinhua, Xi said it was vital to “abandon the Cold War attitude” and urged the countries to “create a balanced, effective, and lasting European security framework through dialogue.”
According to sources, Xi said to Putin, “China’s basic position on respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and adhering to the objectives and principles of the United Nations Charter is consistent.”
Putin claimed that the US and NATO have “long ignored Russia’s realistic security concerns” and have “consistently pushed forward military deployments to the East.” According to the readout, the Russian president also stated that he is willing to engage in high-level dialogue with Ukraine.
The call came at a time when Russia and China have been working to strengthen ties, with Putin making a rare travel abroad to meet with Xi ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Following a lengthy conversation, the two presidents released a joint statement declaring “no boundaries” to their collaboration and asking for a halt to NATO expansion.
On Thursday, China also withdrew all of its wheat-import penalties against Russia, providing a financial lifeline in the midst of a wave of sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.
Beijing has avoided taking sides in the Ukraine issue and has declined to label Russia’s activities as an invasion, instead blaming the US for inflaming tensions and causing panic.
“The United States has been escalating tensions and hyping up conflict for some time,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying during a press conference on Thursday.
“Those who follow the United States’ lead in fueling the fires and then blaming others are extremely irresponsible,” she remarked. “As the perpetrator, the person who started the fire should consider how to extinguish it as soon as feasible.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated that China and Russia were working together to build a “profoundly illiberal” world order.” It is an order that is detrimental rather than beneficial in many ways,” he remarked.
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Price went on to say that every country “has an obligation to utilize whatever influence it has” to persuade Russia to back down and de-escalate the situation.
“You’ll have to ask [China] if they’ve utilized their tremendous influence with the Russian Federation to that aim,” he remarked.