The United States calls on China to use influence with Moscow over Ukraine
The United States calls on China to use influence with Moscow over Ukraine

The United States calls on China to use influence with Moscow over Ukraine

BEIJING / WASHINGTON, January 27 (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday called on China to use its influence with Russia to call for a diplomatic solution to Ukraine crisisbut political experts doubted that Beijing would support Washington in the standoff.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, spoke by telephone with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Beijing said they wanted all sides to remain calm and “refrain from doing things that agitate tensions and hype the crisis.”

Blinken stressed that tensions should be reduced and warned of the security and economic risks of any Russian aggression, the Foreign Ministry said.

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U.S. Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said U.S. messages to Beijing had been very clear.

“We urge Beijing to use its influence with Moscow to encourage diplomacy, because if there is a conflict in Ukraine, it will not be good for China either,” Nuland said at a regular Foreign Ministry news conference. “There will be a significant impact on the global economy. There will be a significant impact on the energy sphere.”

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said a “well-established Olympic ceasefire” for the Winter Games in Beijing, which begins on February 4, will begin on January 28.

“Let us seize this opportunity to promote peace, solidarity, cooperation and other common values ​​shared by all of humanity, to make our world a better place,” Zhang tweeted.

Russia has been building its forces on Ukraine’s borders for several months, demanding that NATO withdraw troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and prevent Ukraine, a former Soviet state, from ever joining the US-led military alliance.

NATO allies deny this, but say they are ready to discuss arms control and confidence-building measures.

Daniel Russel, senior U.S. diplomat for Asia under former President Barack Obama, said that although China could not be happy about the possibility of an invasion of Ukraine on the eve of the Olympics, “Wang Yi chose to defend Russia ‘legitimate security concerns’ instead of offer any support to Blinken. “

Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund in the United States said Beijing could act as a spoiler for any attempt by the United States and its allies to impose costs on Russia.

“It is unlikely that the United States can get China on board Ukraine. Beijing will not support the use of force, but it is sympathetic to Russian attitudes towards NATO. And this is not just about the Olympics,” Glaser said.

If the United States and the European Union impose sanctions on Russia, “China is likely to take steps to mitigate their influence,” she said.

NATO ENLARGEMENT

Wang, who apparently referred to NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe, told Blinken that one country’s security could not be at the expense of others, and regional security could not be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding the military blocs, his ministry said. Read more

The United States has called on Ukraine and Russia to return to a set of pacts to end a separatist war between Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine. But steps set out in the so-called Minsk II agreement remain unimplemented, with Russia insisting that it is not a party to the conflict and therefore not bound by its terms, is a major blockade.

Rand Corporation analyst Derek Grossman said China’s version of the call with Blinken said Wang had highlighted Minsk, even though Russia had never complied.

“I do not see much room for cooperation between the United States and China here, unfortunately … The United States would have to close the door to future NATO enlargement in order for China to come on board, and Minister Blinken has already stated that this is not – starter.”

‘ERROR’

Wang said the new Minsk agreement was “a fundamental political document that is recognized by all parties and should be implemented effectively.” China will support efforts in line with “the direction and spirit of the agreement,” he said.

China strengthened ties with Russia as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalated over issues ranging from trade to human rights, Taiwan and China’s extensive maritime demands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit China next week for the Winter Olympics.

Russian troops invaded Georgia in August 2008 while Putin was in China, attending the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Summer Olympics. The crisis surprised some Western countries.

Wang stressed the cool state of Beijing’s ties to Washington, saying the United States “continues to err in its words and actions toward China, causing new shocks in the relationship.”

“The highest priority at the moment is for the United States to stop interfering in the Winter Olympics in Beijing, stop playing with fire on the Taiwan issue and stop creating various anti-Chinese cliques,” he said.

The United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom have said they will not send any government officials to the Games because of China’s human rights record. China denies violations of rights and had rejected what it calls the politicization of sports.

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Reporting by Ryan Woo and Gabriel Crossley in Beijing, Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru, David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina in Washington and Michelle Nichols in New York; Edited by Robert Birsel, William Maclean and Grant McCool

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