China 'Opposes Any Act' of War; Blames U.S. For Sending Weapons to Ukraine

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman scolded the U.S. for sending weapons to Ukraine in the leadup to Russia's invasion, while reiterating China's call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the ministry, made the remarks during a press briefing Thursday as China seeks to maintain its alliance with Russia while also using its influence to quell its conflict with Ukraine.

She said that China opposes any call to war and has tried to reduce tensions in the run-up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine this week, which was condemned by the U.S. and its Western allies. Hua noted that the U.S. has sent at least $1.5 billion worth of over 1,000 metric tons of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.

"At that time, if all the parties had promoted peace talks, reviewed the historical context of the Ukraine issue, respected and accommodated each other's security concerns, and resolved the issue in a reasonable, proper way for a soft landing of the situation, what would be happening now?" Hua continued.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying gestures during the daily press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing on February 24, 2022. Hua criticized the U.S. and reiterated China's commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. NOEL CELIS/Getty Images

With the invasion of Ukraine underway, Hua said the focus should now be on stopping the conflict instead of finding blame.

Russia and China's increasingly close relationship was on display earlier this month when Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping issued a statement emphasizing their common interests against Western powers. The statement, issued ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing earlier this month, called on NATO to halt expansion in Eastern Europe while criticizing Asian-Pacific security agreements.

China's balancing act between backing Russia and calling for peace was on display when the country's foreign minister called his U.S. counterpart this week.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken "that the legitimate security concerns of any country must be respected," according to a readout of the phone call.

"China once again calls on all parties to exercise restraint, appreciate the importance of implementing the principle of indivisible security, and de-escalate the situation and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation," the readout said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday that Russia and China are seeking a "world order" that he described as "profoundly illiberal" and "is in many ways destructive rather than additive."

Price also called on China to use its influence with Russia to de-escalate with Ukraine.

In response to Price's "remarks on Ukraine," Hua said the U.S. was in no position to give China orders on issues of "respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to Xinhua. By contrast, she said China consistently follows the "purposes and principles of the UN Charter" and "basic norms governing international relations," according to the news agency.

"Even today, we are still facing the real threat from the United States and its so-called allies wantonly interfering in China's internal affairs and undermining China's sovereignty and security on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan issues," said Hua.

Hua said that the U.S. has gone less than 20 year without foreign military operations since its founding nearly 250 years ago. She said the U.S. has justified these interventions on democracy or human rights but sometimes based on "a small bottle of laundry powder or a piece of fake news."

Newsweek has reached out to the State Department for comment.