At UN, China calls on Russia and Ukraine not to let conflict ‘spill over’

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Ukraine and Russia not to let the war “spill over” on Saturday during his speech to the UN General Assembly. “We call on all parties concerned to prevent the crisis from spilling over and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries,” he said. “The priority is to facilitate peace negotiations”, he insisted, calling for a “peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis” through “fair and pragmatic” discussions.

The still tense situation with Taiwan

China is officially neutral but sometimes accused by Westerners of being too conciliatory with Russia, although US officials expressed measured hopes after Beijing’s statements this week at the UN. The Chinese minister also met in New York with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kouleba, assuring him that Beijing called for respecting “the territorial integrity of all countries”. “The fundamental solution is to address the legitimate security concerns of all parties, and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture,” Xi Jinping said Saturday.

Last week, after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Wang Yi’s “balanced position” on Ukraine, but also said he “understand (his) questions and (his) concerns” to this subject. Saturday at the rostrum of the UN, where Taiwan has no seat, the head of Chinese diplomacy also said that China must “firmly combat Taiwan’s separatist activities and take determined actions to oppose external interference”. “Any attempt to prevent China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheel of history,” he added.

The Minister had met on Friday, on the sidelines of the General Assembly, the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, their first meeting since discussions in July in Bali where the two men had shown their desire to renew the dialogue. A month later, the speaker of the American House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, went to Taiwan, provoking the ire of Beijing and renewed tensions between the two great powers.

And in an interview on Sunday, US President Joe Biden said he was ready to intervene militarily if China resorted to force. During this meeting with Antony Blinken, Wang Yi also accused the United States of “sending very bad and dangerous signals” encouraging the independence of Taiwan, according to a press release from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The head of the American diplomacy has expressed the need to preserve “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait, according to a spokesperson for the State Department.

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