China's Foreign Ministry evaded more than a dozen questions on Ukraine in its daily briefing on Tuesday, sticking closely in its responses to a statement released after Foreign Minister Wang Yi's phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The 14 questions regarding Ukraine that were asked in the briefing included whether China recognized the independence of the two separatist pro-Moscow regions in eastern Ukraine and whether China would use its influence to prevent a "further incursion" into Ukraine's territory.
In his responses, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated that any country’s “legitimate security concerns should be respected” and urged all parties to "exercise restraint.”
He re-emphasized that China would contact all parties "based on the merits of the matter" and that the different sides should resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had earlier expressed "concern" about the situation in Ukraine and said “legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected" during a phone call Blinken, according to a statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But Wang Wenbin offered few words beyond that statement during the Tuesday briefing, in keeping with its reluctance to join Western condemnation of Russia in recent days. He was asked how China views potential sanctions against Russia and whether it would help Russia, to which he repeated that countries should exercise restraint and resolve differences through negotiation to “prevent further escalate the situation.”
Wang was also asked whether China sees parallels between Ukraine and Taiwan, to which he responded it is an “irrefutable historical and legal fact” that there is "only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory,” referring back to its "One-China" principle.
The China-Russia relationship: Beijing is navigating a complex position as it attempts to balance deepening ties with Moscow with its practiced foreign policy of staunchly defending state sovereignty.
Though not military allies, China and Russia have been presenting an increasingly united front in the face of what they view as Western interference into their respective affairs and regions.