China’s foreign minister on Tuesday equated any possible future military support from Beijing for Russia's war in Ukraine with US weapons sales to the self-ruled island of Taiwan.
“Why does the US ask China not to provide weapons to Russia while it keeps selling arms to Taiwan?” Foreign Minister Qin Gang asked during a news conference.
Qin said it was “absurd” for “senior US officials” to be interjecting in the issue of Taiwan, which he said is a “matter for the Chinese people.”
“No other country has the right to interfere in it,” he said.
China’s ruling Communist Party sees democratic Taiwan as part of its territory, despite never having controlled it, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has repeatedly refused to rule out the use of force in “reunifying” it with the Chinese mainland.
Qin reiterated Beijing's long held stance on Tuesday, refusing to rule out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.
“We will continue to work with the greatest sincerity and utmost efforts to pursue peaceful reunification," he said. "Meanwhile, we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.”
In terms of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Qin said Tuesday that “China did not create the crisis, it is not a party to the crisis and has not provided weapons to either side.”
“China always makes its own judgment and decides on this position independently based on the merit of the issue," Qin said." Between war and peace, we have chosen peace; between sanctions and dialogue, we have chosen dialogue; between fanning the flames and lowering the temperature, we have chosen the latter."
Some context: Beijing's efforts to present itself as peacemaker in the Ukraine war have been severely undermined by its refusal to acknowledge the nature of the conflict — it has so far avoided calling it an “invasion” — and its diplomatic and economic support for Moscow.