UNITED NATIONS, Feb 23 (Reuters) – China told the United Nations on Thursday that one year into the Ukraine war “brutal facts offer an ample proof that sending weapons will not bring peace,” just days after the United States and NATO warned Beijing against giving Russia military support.
“Adding fuel to the fire will only exacerbate tensions. Prolonging and expanding the conflict will only make ordinary people pay an even heftier price,” China’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dai Bing told the U.N. General Assembly.
Western powers have provided Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons since Russia invaded. The United States and NATO have in the past week accused China of considering supplying arms to Russia and warned Beijing against such a move. China has dismissed the accusations.
Dai was speaking at the United Nations a day after China’s top diplomat Wang Yi visited Moscow and pledged a deeper partnership with Russia. China and Russia announced a “no limits” partnership shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine.
The European Union’s top foreign affairs official Josep Borrell met with Wang in Munich last week. He said he asked Wang about the possibility of Chinese military support for Russia.
“He was very clear and assertive,” Borrell told reporters at the United Nations on Thursday, noting that the pair have had a good personal relationship for many years.
“I can only repeat what he told me: China is not providing arms for Russia and it will not provide arms to Russia because it’s part of their foreign policy not to arm parties in a conflict,” he said. “We have to remain vigilant.”
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly will vote later on Thursday on a draft resolution calling a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” and demanding Russia withdraw its troops.
“We stand ready to continue playing a constructive role in resolving the Ukraine crisis, and bring about peace at an early date,” said Dai.
Since Moscow invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24 last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly hinted that Russia could use a nuclear weapon if threatened.
“Nuclear weapons cannot be used, nuclear war cannot be fought,” Dai said. “All parties should join together against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, prevent nuclear proliferation and avoid a nuclear crisis.” (Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by Ismail Shakil and Diane Craft)