China’s Xi urges talks to settle disputes, opposes sanctions

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BEIJING — Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday said his government supports talks to resolve international disputes and opposes “wanton use” of sanctions.

Xi’s remarks confirm that China is sticking to its stance of refusing to criticize Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine despite the conflict’s toll on the Ukrainian population and global security.

Beijing has refused to call the conflict an invasion and said Russia was provoked by NATO’s expansion.

Despite that, Xi said China remains “committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries” and non-interference in their internal affairs.

“We stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction,” Xi said in a televised address to an international forum in the southern island province of Hainan.

China has abstained or voted with Russia on recent proposals brought before the United Nations, and China‘s state-controlled media have amplified Russian disinformation about Ukraine staging attacks and producing biological weapons with U.S. cooperation.

Xi met with Putin in Beijing less than a month before Russia launched its Feb. 24 invasion, with the two sides issuing a joint statement affirming their “no limits” relationship.

China supports Moscow despite possible war crimes by Russian troops. China claims it has normal economic ties with the countries, despite being placed under economic sanctions by other countries.

China is also thought to be studying the Ukraine crisis to see how it may affect its policy towards Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy that it threatens to invade to take it under its control. China claims Taiwan as its territory, despite the fact that Taiwan and China were divided in 1949 during a civil conflict.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart to break a communications impasse seen as increasingly dangerous by American officials.

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