8 mar 2022 2:36 p.m
Despite sharp counter-reactions from the West to the military operation in Ukraine, Beijing described Russia as its “most important” partner. Now the US has indicated retaliatory measures against China should it evade the sanctions imposed on Moscow.
The US has hinted at retaliation against China should it evade sanctions imposed on Russia after its attack on Ukraine late last month. Beijing, meanwhile, has always argued that economic restrictions only exacerbate conflicts.
At a news conference on Monday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked if the sanctions would force Moscow to deepen ties with Beijing. She answered:
“You can’t offset the impact of these sanctions by China. It’s just not possible.”
At the same time, Psaki added: “We have also seen that China is complying with the punitive measures that have been imposed.” At the same time, the spokeswoman for the White House pointed out that Beijing abstained from voting at the UN General Assembly last week. Last Wednesday, 141 UN member states voted in favor of a resolution condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Five countries voted against. Among the 35 countries that abstained was China. Psaki now added:
“If they don’t comply with the sanctions, we always have the opportunity to take action. But that’s what we’ve seen so far.”
China is committed to a diplomatic solution to the conflict and has always spoken out against economic restrictions. Zhang Jun, China’s envoy to the UN, said on Monday:
“We are deeply concerned about the ever-increasing unilateral sanctions, which are not a fundamental and effective way to resolve the issue.”
He added: “They will have serious humanitarian consequences and spillover effects that will harm other countries.”
On the same day, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that Russia was his country’s “most important strategic partner”. The friendship between the two countries is “hard as iron,” he said.
Many countries, including the US, UK and EU member states, imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow in response to the Russian military action launched on February 24 against Ukraine. However, Russia emphasized that it is defending, among other things, the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which split from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kyiv. Moscow also said it wanted Ukraine to become a neutral country that would never join NATO.
Kyiv said Russia’s attack was completely unjustified and dismissed claims that it planned to use force to retake the territories of the breakaway republics.
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