Chinese envoy discourages action that may escalate situation in Ukraine

Any action by the UN and the relevant parties should give priority to regional peace and stability and the universal security of all parties, said Chinese envoy Zhang Jun. PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS (XINHUA, NYTIMES) - A Chinese envoy on Wednesday (March 2) discouraged action that may escalate the situation in Ukraine.

"Blindly exerting pressure and imposing sanctions and creating division and confrontation will only further complicate the situation and result in a rapid negative spillover of the crisis, and affect even more countries," warned Mr Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.

"We call on the international community to take a responsible attitude, and promote the relevant parties to immediately return to the track of political settlement, and use dialogue and consultation to seek a comprehensive solution to the Ukraine issue," he said in an explanation of vote after the adoption of a resolution on Ukraine by the UN General Assembly.

The General Assembly adopted a resolution on Wednesday condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the support of 141 countries out of 193 and a standing ovation in the chamber.

Russia voted against the measure, joined by Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria.

Thirty-five countries abstained, including China, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Armenia and 16 African countries.

Stressing that China is ready to continue its constructive role in this regard, Mr Zhang said that China's basic position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and unequivocal.

China always believes that all countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected, and that international disputes should be resolved peacefully in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, Mr Zhang said.

Any action by the UN and the relevant parties should give priority to regional peace and stability and the universal security of all parties, and should play a positive role in de-escalation and diplomatic solutions, the ambassador said.

Regrettably, he added, the draft resolution had not undergone full consultations within the whole membership, nor did it take full consideration the history and complexity of the current crisis.

It did not highlight the importance of the principle of indivisible security, or the urgency of promoting political settlement and stepping up diplomatic efforts.

These are not in line with China's consistent positions. Therefore, China had no choice but to abstain, he said.

The top priority right now is to ease the situation on the ground as much as possible, and prevent the situation from escalating or even getting out of control. Russia and Ukraine have already held their first round of negotiations. Despite their differences, both sides have shown willingness to continue the negotiations. China welcomes this, said Mr Zhang.

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Faced with the highly complex and sensitive situation, China once again calls on the international community to stick to the overall direction of political settlement and foster an enabling atmosphere and conditions for direct dialogues and negotiations between the parties concerned, he said.

The final settlement of the Ukraine crisis requires the abandonment of the Cold War mentality, the abandonment of the logic of ensuring one's own security at the expense of others' security, and the abandonment of the approach of seeking regional security by expanding military blocs, Mr Zhang said.

It is important to give full attention and respect to the legitimate security concerns of all countries, and on that basis conduct negotiations to put in place a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism, he said.

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