China’s position on Ukraine crisis ‘consistent and clear,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry says following Fu Cong’s interview with Al Jazeera on Crimea

Chen Qingqing, Global Times, June 28, 2023 —

In response to the latest remarks of the Chinese envoy to EU Fu Cong at Al Jazeera addressing  Ukraine’s 1991 territorial integrity, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday China’s position on Ukraine crisis is consistent and clear.

“We believe that all parties should create conditions for a political settlement of the crisis through dialogue and negotiation,” Mao Ning, spokesperson of the ministry, told at a press conference on Wednesday.

Mao’s comments were made following Al Jazeera on Tuesday publishing an interview with Fu whose remarks were interpreted as that China could back Ukraine’s aims of “reclaiming its 1991 territorial integrity, which includes Crimea question.”

“I do not know Ambassador Fu’s specific statement, but as I just said, China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent and very clear. With regard to your mention of Crimea, we also hope that Crimea can be resolved through political channels,” Mao said.

In a recent interview with Al Jazeera and two other media outlets, when Fu was asked about whether he supports Ukraine’s goals, “which includes reclaiming other Ukrainian regions now occupied by Russia,” the Chinese diplomat said, “I don’t see why not.”

Some Chinese observers believe that Fu’s quotes were taken out of the context with ill-intentioned motives of creating discord between China and Russia or creating pressure on China over the Ukraine crisis, and some chose to spin the remarks as “China unexpectedly supports Ukraine’s desire to liberate Crimea.”

“China’s position on the Ukraine’s territorial claims have not changed, but the Western media is now trying to create ambiguity from clarity, creating new pressure on China,” Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Fu’s remarks are considered to be a reiteration of China’s consistent position as China does not recognize the reality of the change of sovereignty in Crimea, but it does not explicitly support one party’s territorial request, the expert said.

However, Al Jazeera and other media outlets interpreted his words as “China supports Ukraine’s territorial claim”, which is an over-interpretation, Cui noted.

In response to questions on whether China would recognize the referendum results in Crimea, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said at a media briefing on March 17, 2014 that China always respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries.

The Crimean issue should be resolved politically within the framework of law and order, and all parties should exercise restraint and refrain from taking actions that may exacerbate tensions, the ministry said.

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