China’s foreign minister today denied that the country has sold arms to Russia and argued that Beijing has made an “independent assessment” and is committed to peace in Ukraine.
“What has China done to be threatened or pressured regarding this crisis,” Qin Gang questioned at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Assembly, China’s top legislative body.
The ruler assured that China is not directly involved in the conflict, nor has it supplied weapons to the neighbouring country. “We have published a document with proposals for peace,” he recalled.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Beijing has tried to maintain “boundless friendship” with Moscow and protect strong trade links to the United States and allied countries, as well as its global image.
Beijing refused to condemn the invasion and condemned the imposition of sanctions on Russia, but also defended the importance of respecting the “territorial integrity of all countries” in a reference to Ukraine.
Last February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had evidence that China plans to supply Russia with weapons. Beijing has denied this information.
Qin pointed out that there is “an invisible hand that is causing the crisis in Ukraine,” in an implicit reference to the United States. “There are those who are committed to peace and there are those who are putting wood on the fire. We are on the side of negotiation and peace,” he stressed.
In Beijing’s proposal for peace, the importance of “respecting the sovereignty of all countries” is highlighted, in a reference to Ukraine, but it also calls for an end to the “Cold War mentality”, a term often used by Beijing to criticise US foreign policy.
“The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs,” reads the document, in an implicit criticism of NATO enlargement.
The plan calls for an end to Western sanctions imposed on Russia, measures to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities, the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians and action to secure grain exports after supply disruptions caused world prices to rise.
The proposal was criticised by the West for putting “aggressor and victim” on the same footing.