China on Friday opposed sanctions on Russia, which the West has imposed over the latter's military intervention in Ukraine, state-run media said.
“China opposes any illegal sanctions that harm Russia’s legitimate rights and interests,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a news conference in Beijing, according to public broadcaster CGTN.
“The US has imposed more than 100 sanctions on Russia since 2011, but this is not a fundamental and effective means to solve the problem,” he added.
Wang said China believes "sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, and the UN Charter should be jointly upheld."
In an apparent reference to NATO, Wang called for a “balanced, effective and sustainable security mechanism in Europe."
Russia’s long-feared military intervention in Ukraine was announced early Thursday by President Vladimir Putin, who said the operation aims to protect people “subjected to genocide” by Kyiv and to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine. He called on the Ukrainian army to lay down its arms.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, more than 130 people, including civilians, have so far been killed.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis “has not been completely closed" and that “China will continue to push for dialogue and peaceful solutions."
On Taiwan announcing sanctions on Moscow, he said: "The Taiwan authorities do not let a single 'opportunity' go by without grabbing international attention, which is a cheap trick that will not get its way."
Beijing claims Taiwan as "its breakaway province" but Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949.