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China Says It Is 'Deeply Worried' About Escalation of Ukraine Conflict

BEIJING: Feb 21 - China is "deeply worried" about the escalation of the Ukraine conflict and the possibility of the situation spiraling out of control, China's foreign minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday.

Beijing, which last year struck a "no limits" partnership with Moscow, has refrained from condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The United States has warned of consequences if China provides military support to Russia, which Beijing says it is not doing.

"We urge certain countries to immediately stop fueling the fire," Qin said during a speech, adding that these nations must also "stop hyping up 'today Ukraine, tomorrow Taiwan'".

"We stand firmly against any form of hegemony, against any foreign interference in China's affairs," he said.

Also on Tuesday, China released a paper on the Global Security Initiative (GSI), President Xi Jinping's flagship security proposal which aims to uphold the principle of "indivisible security", a concept also endorsed by Russia.

On Monday, China's top diplomat Wang Yi called for a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war during a stopover in Hungary ahead of a visit to Moscow.

Beijing has refrained from condemning Moscow's operation against Ukraine or calling it an "invasion" in line with the Kremlin, which describes the war as a "special military operation" designed to protect Russia's own security.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Saturday that the United States was very concerned China is considering providing "lethal assistance" to Russia, which he told Wang "would have serious consequences in our relationship."

"There are various kinds of lethal assistance that they are at least contemplating providing, to include weapons," Blinken said in an interview with NBC News, adding that Washington would soon release more details.

Any Chinese weapons supplies to Russia would risk a potential escalation of the Ukraine war into a confrontation between Russia and China on the one side and Ukraine and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance on the other.

Xi has stood by Russian President Vladimir Putin, resisting Western pressure to isolate Moscow. Chinese-Russian trade has soared since the invasion of Ukraine, and Russia has sold Asian powers including China greater volumes of oil.

(Source Reuters)



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