Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, September 18, 2019.
Pavel Golovkin | Afp | Getty Images
BEIJING – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday that China is “deeply concerned” about the crisis in Ukraine, warning that sanctions will hurt global growth.
“As for Ukraine, the current situation there is really serious, and China is very worried and sad,” Li said in Mandarin, according to an official translation.
The prime minister was responding to two questions about the Ukraine war at the start of an annual press conference. Since Russia’s attack on Ukraine about two weeks ago, Beijing refused to call it an invasion He said China would maintain normal trade with both countries, without joining the sanctions of the United States, the European Union and other countries against Russia.
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said relations with Russia were “very solid”. He referred to a joint statement with Russia issued after a high-level meeting in early February between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During Friday’s press conference, Li stressed that China “followed an independent peace policy” and reiterated Beijing’s position in encouraging Russia and Ukraine to negotiate. “The urgent task now is to prevent tensions from escalating or even spiraling out of control.”
Li did not specifically say whether China would support Russia economically, but noted that China supports “all efforts conducive to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.”
He added that the sanctions would only shock the global economy, which is already struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the weekend, the International Monetary Fund said the economic consequences of the war are “Really very dangerous” With “adverse” shocks to inflation and trade activity in many countries.
Last week, Oxford Economics estimated that the war would cut global GDP by 0.2%, with a 0.6% decline this year if fighting continues through 2023.
Lee was speaking Friday at a news conference held at the conclusion of the annual parliamentary meeting.
This year marks Li’s last appearance at the press conference as prime minister, a position he has held since 2013. The ruling Communist Party of China is set to choose a new leadership team in the fall, although the president Xi Jinping He is expected to remain in office for an unprecedented third term.
Li concluded the nearly two-hour press conference with a pledge that China will continue to open its economy regardless of changes in the international environment.
Foreign companies have long complained about the requirements for forced technological transfer and unequal access to the Chinese market, especially at the level of domestic implementation. In the past few years, China has passed a law for Improve the business environment and allowing foreign financial institutions full ownership of their domestic operations.
“Forty years have passed since China embarked on the journey of opening up,” Li said. “Openness has brought benefits to the country and its people. We will not and will not close this door of opportunity. Thank you.”