The Chinese foreign minister has warned the United States against blaming China and “fueling the fire” in the Ukraine conflict, saying it is “deeply concerned” that the situation could spiral out of control.
At the launch of a government paper on China’s global security initiative at an official forum in Beijing Tuesday, Qin Gang said China has consistently played a neutral part in Ukraine but accused the United States of escalating the conflict.
In comments obliquely directed at the U.S., he said: “Since the outbreak of the crisis, China has consistently been objective and impartial. … We urge certain countries to immediately stop fueling the fire, stop shifting the blame on China and stop hyping up ‘Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow’.”
"China is deeply worried that the Ukraine conflict will continue to escalate or even spiral out of control," Qin said at an official forum supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Qin painted a picture of a China besieged by international powers, and in veiled language, voiced Beijing’s opposition to the domination of world politics by the United States.
“The external suppression and containment of China has been escalating and intensifying, posing a serious threat to China's sovereignty and security,” he told diplomats and representatives of international agencies.
“China firmly opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics, the Cold War mentality and confrontations. We firmly oppose interference in China's internal affairs and firmly safeguard our national sovereignty, security, development interests, and international fairness and justice.”
Qin’s comments came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of “real consequences” in U.S.-China relations should China provide lethal aid for Russian forces fighting in Ukraine. Blinken warned Saturday that Washington had intelligence that Beijing was considering providing “lethal assistance” to Russia.
Beijing last year struck a “no limits” partnership with Moscow and refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While there has so far been no evidence of direct Chinese military support for the Russian war effort, Chinese officials and state-controlled media have largely repeated Moscow’s unfounded claims that NATO provoked the war.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday in stronger and more candid terms that the U.S. was in “no position” to lecture China on the Ukraine conflict.
“It is the U.S., not China, that has been pouring weapons onto the battlefield. The U.S. is in no position to tell China what to do,” said Wang Wenbin at a regular press conference. “We would never stand for finger-pointing, or even coercion and pressurizing from the U.S. on our relations with Russia.”
Wang insisted that China supports peace talks and would “stay firm on the side of peace and dialogue, and play a constructive part in easing the situation.”
“We urge the U.S. side to seriously reflect on the role it has played, do something to actually help de-escalate the situation and promote peace talks, and stop deflecting the blame and spreading disinformation,” he said.
The war of words came as the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin could meet with Wang Yi, the Chinese Communist Party's most senior foreign policy official and former foreign minister, who is visiting the Russian capital.