China wants to appear peaceful, support Russia in Ukraine – Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

The Chinese government seeks to look like an advocate of peace in Ukraine but at the same time supports Russia by various means, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview to Euronews.

When asked to comment on China’s plan for Ukrainian reconciliation and Russian-Chinese relations, the top US diplomat replied: “I think China is also trying to have it both ways. It wants to be seen as trying to advance peace, and at the same time it continues to support Russia in different ways – rhetorically, making its case in international institutions <…> and, as we’ve said some weeks ago, even considering providing Russia with lethal assistance.”

“Peace ideas that China’s put on the table, some of them are positive,” Blinken was quoted as saying in the interview’s transcript, published by the Department of State on Thursday. “Sovereignty – that should be the focus.”

In his opinion, China should focus on convincing Russia “to actually respect Ukraine’s sovereignty” and return to Ukraine the territories that voted to join Russia during referendums.

Blinken went on to say that, in his view “China has a relationship with Russia that gives it some leverage.” “I don’t want to exaggerate it but gives it some leverage with Russia,” he reiterated.

Speaking about China’s relations with Europe and the United States he said: “This is not about decoupling; it is about de-risking. It is, for example, in the case of the economic relationship – yes, sustaining that, because it’s important to all of us, but making sure that in critical sectors, where our security could be at risk, strategic industries, other places of concern, that people be – and countries be – very, very careful about that.”

“We all have complicated and very consequential relations and relationships with China,” the US secretary of state added.

In February, the Chinese Foreign Ministry published a 12-point document clarifying Beijing’s position on finding a political solution to the Ukrainian issue. The document particularly calls for a ceasefire, respect for the legitimate security interests of all countries, a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, prisoner exchanges between Moscow and Kiev and the rejection of unilateral sanctions not authorized by the UN Security Council. Beijing stressed that dialogue and negotiations were “the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis” and called on all sides to support Moscow and Kiev in “working in the same direction” and in resuming direct dialogue as soon as possible.

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