Chinese leaders are telling their EU counterparts they will push for peace in Ukraine “in their own way”, rejecting calls for a tougher approach.
China has given assurances to the European Union that it will seek peace in Ukraine as it has resisted grouping pressures to adopt a tougher stance toward Russia.
At the first China-EU summit in two years, Premier Li Keqiang told EU leaders that Beijing would push for peace “in its own way,” while President Xi Jinping, who has developed a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he hoped The EU will take an “independent” approach, referring to Europe’s close relations with the United States.
The European Union asked Beijing during the virtual summit not to allow Moscow to circumvent Western sanctions imposed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said leaders on both sides “exchanged very clearly opposing views” on many topics, but she hoped China would use its influence as a major power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to persuade Russia to stop to do that. Fighting.
We have asked China to help end the war in Ukraine. “China cannot turn a blind eye to Russia’s violation of international law,” European Council President Charles Michel said at a press briefing with von der Leyen after the first summit since December 30, 2020.
“Any attempts to circumvent the sanctions or provide assistance to Russia will prolong the war,” he said.
China has had closer security and economic ties with Russia and refused to condemn what Russia called a “special military operation” in Ukraine or an invasion. Beijing has repeatedly criticized what it describes as illegal and unilateral Western sanctions. Several weeks before the February 24 invasion, China and Russia announced a “borderless” strategic partnership.
Xi told EU leaders that the root cause of the Ukraine crisis “was the regional security tensions in Europe” and that “the basic solution is to accommodate the legitimate security concerns of all relevant parties,” according to the state-run Global Times. Li said China has always sought peace and promoted negotiations, and is ready to continue playing a constructive role with the international community, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Before the meeting, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned that China “does not agree to solve problems through sanctions, and we are more opposed to unilateral sanctions and long-term jurisdiction that has no basis in international law.”
When it comes to Ukraine, Zhao said, Beijing will not have to “choose a side or adopt a simplistic approach of friend or foe. We must, in particular, resist Cold War thinking and confront the bloc.”
He also portrayed the United States as the aggressor.
“As the main culprit and instigator of the Ukraine crisis, the United States led NATO to engage in five rounds of eastward expansion in the last two decades after 1999,” he said, adding that NATO membership nearly doubled from 16 to 30 countries, pushing “Russia into the wall a step.” step by step”.
Michel and von der Leyen described the top’s tone as “open and frank”.
China is concerned that the European Union is taking cues from the United States and adopting a more hawkish approach to foreign policy. In 2019, the European Union suddenly shifted from its usual soft diplomatic language to describing China as a systemic competition.
The European Union has also joined the United States and the United Kingdom in punishing Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the crackdown in Hong Kong.
Beijing responded by freezing implementation of an investment agreement already negotiated between the European Union and China. It also halted imports from Lithuania after Taiwan opened a de facto embassy in Vilnius, angering Beijing, which claims the democratically governed island is its own.