China calls Xi’s visit to Russia friendship and peace

BEIJING — China said on Wednesday that President Xi Jinping’s just-concluded visit to Russia was a “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace” and again criticized Washington for providing military aid to Ukraine.

The trip, which ended on Wednesday, signaled no new progress in ending the bloody conflict between Russia and Ukraine, while bolstering President Vladimir Putin’s position amid growing efforts to isolate him and his government internationally.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reiterated China’s claims that it remains neutral in the conflict, saying it had “no selfish motive on the Ukraine issue, did not look at it passively… and did not take the opportunity to profit.”

“What China has done is summed up in one word, which is to promote peace talks,” Wang said at a daily briefing.

Wang also accused the United States of lacking impartiality and “flaming” the conflict by providing defensive weapons to Ukraine for Washington’s own benefit.

The United States, NATO and partner nations have openly supported Kiev since the beginning of the conflict, and China is widely seen as providing an economic backstop to Putin’s regime while avoiding direct involvement.

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“President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia is a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace, which has drawn positive responses from the international community,” Wang said.

China will “continue to play a constructive role in promoting a political settlement of the Ukraine issue,” Wang said, apparently referring to Beijing’s 12-point peace proposal, which calls for a ceasefire and negotiations.

The document has already been rejected by the West, mainly because China – which has said it has “unrestricted” ties with Moscow – is not seen as an impartial mediator, and the proposal says nothing about Russia withdrawing from Ukraine. occupied by force.

Xi’s visit was strongly supported by China and Russia, but was overshadowed by a visit to Kiev by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a close ally of the United States and one of China’s main rivals in East Asia.

Early Wednesday, Ukraine faced another series of Russian drone attacks that killed at least three people and damaged infrastructure across the country.

The United States and others have continued to express concern that China could provide military equipment to supplement its procurement of Russian energy sources and computer chips to keep the Russian economy afloat.

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Russia has bought more than $12 million in drones and drone parts from China in the year since the invasion began, the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing official Russian customs data from a source it did not identify.

According to the newspaper, it is difficult to say whether the drones contain American technologies. The shipments included products from DJI, one of the world’s leading commercial drone manufacturers, as well as products from smaller companies, and often came through a network of brokers and smaller export companies.

In other comments on Ukraine, Wang said Russia and China agreed to abide by the UN Charter and respect international law. They said they opposed unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States and others to economically punish Putin and his financial backers.

Wang said nothing about the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Putin, who is accused of involvement in the abduction of thousands of children from Ukraine.

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In a joint statement signed in Moscow, Russia and China stressed that settling the conflict “must respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries,” reiterating Moscow’s argument that it sent troops to prevent the United States and its NATO allies from using the country as an anti-Russian defensive bastion.

“The two sides pointed out that the solution to the Ukraine crisis should respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries and prevent the formation of bloc confrontation and fanning of the flames,” Wang said in Beijing on Wednesday.

“The two sides stressed that responsible dialogue is the best way to continuously solve the problem,” Wang said.

“To this end, the international community must support the relevant constructive efforts, and the two sides call for the cessation of all actions that could lead to a tense situation and a prolonged war, in order to avoid a further escalation of the crisis or even a loss of control.” ,” he said.