China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the “evolution” of the situation in Ukraine is “something China does not want to see,” in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Saturday.
Wang said the Ukraine crisis should be solved through "dialogue and negotiation" and called on the United States, NATO, and the European Union to engage in “equal dialogue” with Russia. He said they should “pay attention to the negative impact of NATO's continuous eastward expansion on Russia's security.”
"China supports all efforts conducive to de-escalation and political settlement of the situation, while opposing any moves which are adverse to promoting a diplomatic solution and add fuel to the flames," Wang said.
Blinken underscored on the call that Moscow will “pay a high price” for its “premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war” in Ukraine, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. He said “the world is watching to see which nations stand up for the basic principles of freedom, self-determination and sovereignty.”
Some context: China and Russia share a strategic interest in challenging the West but the invasion of Ukraine has put their friendship to the test.
Beijing finds itself in a complex position as Russia's invasion intensifies, needing to balance a close strategic partnership with Moscow with its seemingly contradictory policy of supporting state sovereignty.
China has not rushed to help Russia after its economy was slammed by sanctions from all over the world, with experts saying Beijing's options are limited. Analysts say Chinese banks and companies also fear secondary sanctions if they deal with Russian counterparts.