China says US sanctions over Ukraine should not affect right to trade with Russia

  • China is opposed to unilateral sanctions with no basis in international law, foreign ministry says
  • ‘Normal trade’ with Russia to continue, spokesman says, while calling for de-escalation in Ukraine

Normal trade with Russia will continue and the US sanctions on Moscow should not harm China’s legitimate rights, the foreign ministry in Beijing said.

“China is not in favour of using sanctions to solve problems and furthermore opposed to unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law,” ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

This came as the US and its allies in Europe and Asia imposed a slew of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including cutting Russian banks out of the Swift international payments system.

Commenting on the Swift ban and whether Chinese companies would comply with US sanctions to stop delivering Russian orders, Wang said China and Russia would “continue to carry out normal trade cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit”.

“We demand that the US side should not undermine the legitimate rights and interests of China and other parties when dealing with the Ukraine issue and relations with Russia,” he said.

China’s consistent position had been that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and maintained, and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter should be jointly safeguarded, Wang added.

“China has always believed that the security of one country cannot be built on the basis of compromising the security of other countries, let alone harming the sovereignty and security of other countries out of the pursuit of its own absolute military superiority and absolute security,” he said.

“The legitimate security concerns of all countries should be respected.”

Wang did not directly comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order on Sunday to put the country’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert, but called on all parties concerned to maintain calm and restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation.

“China supports all efforts that contribute to de-escalation and a political solution,” Wang said. “Regarding European security issues, the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously.

“Under the premise of five consecutive rounds of Nato’s eastward expansion, Russia’s legitimate security demands should be taken seriously and properly addressed.”

Nato has gone through five rounds of enlargement since 1990, including the accession of the three former Soviet states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and several former Warsaw Pact nations.

In a phone call with Putin on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would determine its position concerning the Ukrainian issue on its own merits. He also asserted Beijing’s support for Moscow in resolving the issue through negotiations with Kyiv.

China on Friday abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and urged all parties to “return immediately to the track of diplomatic negotiations”, without criticising Moscow’s action.

Russia used its veto power to block the resolution.

Author: Liu Zhen, SCMP

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