China stresses diplomatic solution to Ukraine crisis

Minsk agreement is the only way out of crisis, Chinese foreign minister says.

China stresses diplomatic solution to Ukraine crisis

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday highlighted the urgent need for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

“We hope that a solution can be found through dialogue and consultation that will really guarantee security and stability in Europe,” Wang said in his video speech to the Munich Security Conference.

China’s chief diplomat added the Minsk agreement could be the basis for resolving the crisis diplomatically.

“We believe that now we need to go back to the initial solution of the Minsk agreement because that agreement was reached by all parties related to this issue, which is a binding agreement,” Wang said.

The Minsk agreements – named after the capital of Belarus where they were signed in 2014 and 2015 – attempt to secure a cease-fire between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatists in the east of Ukraine.

“It has been endorsed and recognized by the UN Security Council. It is the only way out for the Ukrainian issue. As far as I understand, the Russian side supports the new Minsk agreement. And for Europe, it also supports this agreement recently,” Wang said.

He also stressed the need to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“Let me reiterate that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any country should be respected and safeguarded because this is a basic norm of international relations. It is consistent with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and is the consistent position of the Chinese government. Ukraine is no exception,” the Chinese foreign minister said.

Beijing has blamed NATO's eastward expansions for the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which have the world on the verge of an imminent escalation to war.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, supported Russia's position on Thursday, citing legitimate concerns over the enlargement of the 30-nation NATO.

“Everything happens for a reason. NATO enlargement is an issue that cannot be overlooked when dealing with the current tensions related to Ukraine,” Zhang told a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Eastern European nation.

“NATO’s continuous expansion in the wake of the Cold War runs counter to the trend of our times, that is to maintain common security,” he said, according to a readout from the Chinese mission.

Moscow, according to NATO and Ukrainian officials, recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning a military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Russia has denied it is preparing to invade and accused Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.

Russia also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states, and guarantees that some of those states would not join NATO.