Chinese Communist Party Gloats Relationship with Russia Is 'Rock Solid'
China affirms unity with Putin amid Russian invasion of Ukraine
The Chinese Communist Party has boasted that its relationship with Russia is "rock solid" following signs their unity was wavering amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On Monday, China's foreign minister gloated of the CCP's strong relationship with Moscow in the wake of devastating international sanctions put on Russia.
Wang Yi also offered Beijing's help in mediating peace between Russia and Ukraine and backed ties with Moscow.
The show of unity comes despite international condemnation of Russia's actions that have resulted in thousands of deaths and a growing humanitarian crisis.
"The friendship between the two peoples is rock-solid, and both sides' future cooperation prospects are very vast," Wang declared at an annual press briefing.
He added that China would send humanitarian aid to Ukraine and was "willing to work with the international community to carry out necessary mediation."
China has refused to condemn Russia's attack on Ukraine or call it an invasion while asking Western countries to respect Russia's "legitimate security concerns."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been relying on his country's close ties to China to bail him out of the widespread sanctions that have hit the economy hard.
"No matter how sinister the international situation is, both China and Russia will maintain their strategic determination and continuously push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era," he said.
Wang described the causes of the "Ukraine situation" as "complex," saying they had not happened overnight.
"Solving complex problems requires calmness and rationality, rather than adding fuel to the fire and intensifying contradictions," he told a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China's parliament.
China is willing to continue to make its own efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis and the country's Red Cross will "as soon as possible" provide a batch of aid to Ukraine, Wang said, without giving details.
It was the first time the country has announced such help.
China proposes that "humanitarian action" must abide by the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and humanitarian issues should not be politicized, he added.
Beijing has repeatedly said it would play a "constructive role in calling for negotiations" to resolve the crisis but has not previously committed to joining or hosting any peace talks.
Wang also described the China-Russia relationship as "the world's most crucial bilateral relationship," which "is conducive to world peace, stability, and development."
Putin met Chinese President Xi Jinping hours before the start of last month's Winter Olympics in Beijing.
During their meeting, they signed a wide-ranging strategic partnership aimed at countering U.S. influence and said they would have "no forbidden areas of cooperation."
The foreign minister referred to last month's partnership commitment as "clearly and unmistakably showing the world" that both countries "jointly oppose the revival of the Cold War mentality and stoking ideological confrontations."
Wang also said the informal alliance would "not brook interference by third parties," in a warning to the United States and its Western allies who in recent days have lobbied China to play a more active role in mediating the conflict.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said last week that China should mediate future peace talks between Russia and Ukraine as Western powers cannot fulfill the role, in an interview with Spanish daily El Mundo.
Wang's comments on Monday came after Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin dismissed a report last week that China asked Russia to delay its invasion until after the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Beijing on Thursday denounced the report and called it a "very despicable" attempt to divert attention and shift blame over the invasion of Ukraine.
Wang Wenbin repeated China's accusation that Washington provoked the war by not ruling out NATO membership for Ukraine.
"We hope the culprit of the crisis would reflect on their role in the Ukraine crisis, take up their responsibilities, and take practical actions to ease the situation and solve the problem instead of blaming others," Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.
An article in The New York Times cited a "Western intelligence report" considered credible by officials.
"The New York Times report is purely fake news, and such behaviors of diverting attentions and shifting blames are very despicable," Wang said at the time.
After Putin and Xi Jinping met in February ahead of the Winter Games, China endorsed Russia's opposition to further NATO expansion and demanded that it "respect the sovereignty, security, and interests of other countries."
Russia, for its part, reaffirmed its support for China's claim over Taiwan, the self-governing island Beijing threatens to annex by force if necessary.
China is the only major government that hasn't criticized Moscow's attack on Ukraine and has also ruled out joining the United States and European governments in imposing financial sanctions on Russia.
Instead, Beijing has endorsed the Russian argument that Moscow's security was threatened by NATO's eastern expansion.
China abstained in a UN General Assembly emergency session vote last week to demand an immediate halt to Moscow's attack on Ukraine and the withdrawal of all Russian troops.
"Regrettably, the draft resolution submitted to the General Assembly emergency special session for vote had not undergone full consultations with the whole membership, nor does it take into consideration the history and the complexity of the current crisis," Wang said at the time.
"It did not highlight the importance of the principle of indivisible security or the urgency of promoting political settlement and stepping up diplomatic efforts," he said.
"These are not in line with China's consistent position.
"Therefore, we had no choice but to abstain in the voting."
However, China has not been completely free of negative reactions towards Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
It was reported last week that several Chinese public banks were limiting financing to purchase raw materials from Russia for fear of Western sanctions should they be seen to be supporting the Kremlin.
About 30 percent of oil and gas produced in Russia is sold to China.
Putin is relying on his ties to China's Xi Jinping to bail him out of the increasingly tough sanctions being put on Moscow by Western nations as the invasion escalates.
The Ukraine crisis creates uncertainty for China during a year in which it craves stability, with Xi expected to secure an unprecedented third leadership term in the autumn.
In January, President Xi marked 30 years of ties with Ukraine, hailing the "deepening political mutual trust" between them.
Ukraine is a hub in the Belt and Road Initiative, a sprawling infrastructure and diplomatic undertaking that binds China closer with Europe.