China tells Russia it ‘understands’ its ‘legitimate security concerns’

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday that Beijing “understands” Moscow’s “legitimate security concerns”. The comments from Mr. Wang in a phone call on Thursday underlined Beijing’s broad backing to Russia on the Ukraine issue, even as its diplomats have called for a return to diplomacy. The diplomatic process, however, lies completely derailed following Russia’s invasion.

Beijing hasn’t explicitly endorsed or criticised Russia’s actions, although Mr. Wang’s comments may be perceived as implicitly offering support. In the phone call, Mr. Wang said “China always respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.” “At the same time,” he added, “the Ukraine issue has a complex and specific historical latitude and longitude, and China understands

He also criticised NATO and called for a “balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism” which “completely abandons the Cold War mentality”.

China’s media broadly backed Russia and focused much of its coverage on NATO and Russia’s broader security concerns. “I believe Russia’s military operation is a reaction of Moscow toward Western countries’ exerting pressure on Russia for a long time, showing that Moscow can’t tolerate anymore,” Yang Jin, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying by the Communist Party-run Global Times.

The Chinese Embassy in Ukraine, meanwhile, warned citizens to stay home but has not indicated any plans to evacuate them. In one notice that went viral on Chinese social media, the embassy asked Chinese citizens to display the Chinese flag on their cars if they were travelling long distances.

Chinese media reports also highlighted Beijing’s capacity to support Moscow in the face of sanctions. On Thursday, Chinese customs approved wheat imports from Russia, an indicator that China would remain open for business. China is Russia’s biggest trading partner and accounts for close to 20% of its total foreign trade, while two-way trade last year was up 35% to $147 billion.

--

--

Consulting Engineer @ MongoDB

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store