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China Expresses Concern About Russia's Stance on Georgian Regions


China has expressed concern after Russia declared two regions of Georgia independent. As Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing, China has its own concerns about territorial integrity.

China's Foreign Ministry says it is watching with close concern after Russia signed a declaration recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent from Georgia.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's declaration Tuesday was swiftly condemned by the United States and European powers while China's response was more reserved.

Qin Gang, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, says they understand the complex histories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. He says China's ongoing position on this issue is that they hope all sides use negotiations and dialogue to resolve the issue.

Russian military pounded Georgian forces earlier this month after they tried to reassert control over pro-Moscow South Ossetia.

Russia later agreed to pull back troops under international pressure, but Georgian officials say they still occupy parts of the country.

The Russian president was seeking support on the issue from China and central Asian nations at a meeting in Tajikistan of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The SCO, however, did not give its support and instead called for reconciliation and more talks to resolve the dispute over control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

One of the SCO's declared purposes is to oppose separatism. Moreover, some of the members - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, like Georgia, had once been part of the former Soviet Union. They became independent nations after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

China, the founder of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, is also concerned about sending the wrong signal to independence supporters in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan, the self-ruling island that Beijing claims as its own.



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