BEIJING (Reuters) -China is concerned about the “worsening” situation in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, repeating his call for all parties to show restraint and resolve differences through dialogue.
The legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected, Wang, who is also a Chinese state councillor, told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on a phone call, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
Accelerating a crisis the West fears could spark a war, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine after recognising them as independent.
Russia denies any plan to attack Ukraine but has threatened unspecified “military-technical” action unless it receives sweeping security guarantees including a promise that its neighbour will never join NATO.
“The situation in Ukraine is worsening,” Wang told Blinken. “China once again calls on all parties to exercise restraint.”
China will continue to stay in touch with all parties, Wang said.
On the call, Blinken underscored the need to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity amid Russia’s “aggression”, said Ned Price, a spokesperson at the U.S. State Department.
Blinken also spoke with Wang about developments in North Korea, Price said in a brief statement.
China calls for direct dialogue between the United States and North Korea, and will, as always, seek to play a constructive role in promoting the resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, Wang said.
The United States should not include Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy, Wang told Blinken.
Earlier this month, the United States said it would commit more diplomatic and security resources to the Indo-Pacific. Washington also said it would work with partners inside and outside the region to maintain peace and stability in the strait dividing Taiwan from China.
The attempt to include Taiwan in the strategy to contain China is sending all the “wrong signals”, Wang told Blinken on the call, according to the Chinese foreign ministry statement.
Still, China is willing to manage its differences with the United States and stabilise bilateral ties, Wang said.
China on Monday said it had placed Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp under sanctions over arms sales to Taiwan, at least the third time it has announced punishments against the U.S. companies.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it will continue to urge the United States to keep selling the island weapons “in the face of China’s military threats and intimidation”.
“The U.S. provision to us of defensive weapons helps defend Taiwan’s democracy and freedom, as well as ensures national security and peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” spokesperson Joanne Ou told reporters.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Tom Hogue and Lincoln Feast.)