China backs Putin as top diplomat warns US that Russia’s security demands ‘must be taken seriously’ amid fears of war in Ukraine
- China backed Putin in Ukraine crisis, saying demands must be ‘taken seriously’
- Foreign minister Wang Yi urged America to abandon its ‘Cold War mentality’
- He delivered the comments during a call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken
- Came after Blinken sent a letter to Moscow, rejecting most of Putin’s demands
China has thrown its back behind Russia over Ukraine, warning the US that Putin’s security demands must be ‘taken seriously’.
Foreign minister Wang Yi told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he should abandon his ‘Cold War mentality’ and engage in negotiations during a call today.
The call took place just after Blinken had delivered a letter to Moscow, rejecting most of Putin’s demands around Ukraine.
Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, has warned the US that Russia’s security demands must be ‘taken seriously’ and urged Washington to abandon its ‘Cold War mentality’
‘All parties should abandon the Cold War mentality and form a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiation,’ Wang said.
‘Russia’s reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously and resolved.’
In a nod to Moscow’s concerns about the expansion of the NATO alliance in Europe Wang added that ‘regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs’.
The exact contents of Blinken’s letter to Putin are not being made public, but Blinken said it contains ‘serious’ offers to de-escalate tensions.
These are said to include controls on nuclear arms and limits on military exercises, according to the New York Times.
After speaking with Blinken, Wang added that ‘regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs’.
Wang also urged the US to ‘stop interfering’ in the Winter Olympics, which are set to take place next month in Beijing.
Wang made his remarks during a call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, just hours after he sent a letter reject most of Putin’s security demands
Beijing hopes to turn next week’s Games into a soft power triumph.
But the lead-up has been clouded by a US-led diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record, particularly towards Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
‘The most urgent priority right now is that the US should stop interfering in the Beijing Winter Olympics,’ Wang said, according to the foreign ministry.
He added that Washington must also ‘stop playing with fire’ on the Taiwan issue.
Washington’s brief of the call made no mention of the Olympics or Taiwan, and instead focused on Ukraine.
‘Secretary Blinken underscored the global security and economic risks posed by further Russian aggression against Ukraine and conveyed that de-escalation and diplomacy are the responsible way forward,’ the statement read.
Global concerns are growing over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, as tens of thousands of Russian troops have been stationed at the border in recent weeks.
In response, the US and other NATO member states have been conducting intense diplomacy with Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent days, as well as providing military reinforcement to Ukraine.
Russia is continuing to mass its tanks and troops on Ukraine’s border, amid fears that Putin could be about to invade
The US and its NATO allies have said they are ready for any eventuality.
Russia, which has a troubled historical relationship with Ukraine, has fueled an insurgency in the former Soviet republic’s east that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.
Russia that year also seized Crimea after the overthrow of a government in Kyiv that had resisted efforts to move closer to Europe.
Moscow has denied planning to invade Ukraine but has also said it wants guarantees that the country will not join NATO.
China often opposes ‘external interference’ in how other countries are run.
But it has been especially reluctant to speak out against its close strategic ally Russia, which is a fellow permanent member of the UN Security Council and often finds itself at loggerheads with the same western powers as China.