China’s Xi talks of Russia-Ukraine war as ‘alarm for humanity’

Speaking at a virtual business forum, Chinese president also questions the utility of sanctions against Russia.

The conflict in Ukraine has “sounded an alarm for humanity,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping has said, but gave no indication on how it could be resolved.

Beijing has not condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and has criticised Western-led sanctions on Russia, even as it has sought to maintain its relationship with Ukraine.

“The Ukraine crisis has again sounded the alarm for humanity. Countries will surely end up in security hardships if they place blind faith in their positions of strength, expand military alliances, and seek their own safety at the expense of others,” Xi said, according to state media.

The Chinese president, who did not propose any solutions, was speaking at the opening of a virtual business forum ahead of the 14th summit of the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Brazil, India and South Africa have also not openly condemned Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Xi described sanctions as a “boomerang and a double-edged sword” that “will only end up hurting one’s own interests as well as those of others, and inflict suffering on everyone”. Along with the US, the UK and the European Union, countries including Japan, South Korea and Singapore have imposed sanctions as a result of the war.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took a diplomatic tone in his brief recorded speech to the forum, talking up his administration’s results without naming any other country.

“The current international context is a cause for concern because of the risks to trade and investment flows to the stability of energy supply chains and investment,” he said. “Brazil’s response to these challenges is not to close itself off. On the contrary, we have sought to deepen our economic integration.”

China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy and drive to dominate global markets have prompted a backlash in the US, Europe and elsewhere, increasing calls to replace Chinese suppliers and reduce the world’s reliance on the Chinese economy.

Xi, who has built a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, called for nations to work together on such issues, saying efforts to “build a small courtyard with high walls” was in no one’s interest.

“Economic globalisation is an objective requirement for the development of productive forces and an irresistible historical trend,” the Chinese president said.

“Going backwards in history and trying to block other people’s road will only block your own road in the end,” he said.

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