Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has described the situation in Ukraine as “worrying”, when 15 days have passed since the Russian invasion that has exiled more than two million people, and that keeps cities like Mariupol besieged in an extreme situation. , without electricity or water. In his only press conference of the year, on the occasion of the closing of the annual legislative session, Li has reiterated his country’s willingness to make a “positive contribution” to achieving peace between Moscow and Kiev, but has not specified whether he is willing to actively mediate between the parties.
China, which has adopted a position of “biased neutrality” in which it leans in favor of its Russian strategic partner; has at all times avoided condemning the invasion or even calling it that. It also considers “illegal” the sanctions that the West has imposed against Russia as punishment for the attack on Ukraine, and believes NATO and the United States are responsible for the conflict, which it accuses of having ignored the “legitimate security concerns” of the United States. Vladimir Putin’s government.
At his press conference, in which the questions had been previously agreed upon, as well as who should ask them, and where the prime minister responded from the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, through a screen connected to a press center several kilometers away, Li limited himself to repeating the position that the head of state, Xi Jinping, had already conveyed in his conversation last Tuesday with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“The actual situation [en Ucrania] it is serious and China is deeply concerned and distressed”, said the head of the Government. “China believes that the territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, and the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously.” Beijing “will collaborate with the international community to make a positive contribution to the early return of peace,” he added.
As Xi had assured in his videoconference with European leaders, Li warned of the global consequences of the harsh economic sanctions against Russia, which he argued will only “harm the global economic recovery still damaged by the pandemic, and will harm all countries in the world. world. They don’t suit anyone.” On Tuesday, the Chinese president had specified that these punitive measures will have negative consequences on the global financial system, as well as on global supply chains, transportation and energy supply.
Li also reiterated his government’s calls to “make all-out efforts.” “It is important to support Russia and Ukraine continuing their ceasefire negotiations,” he said, “overcoming difficulties to achieve peace.” He did not specify how exactly Beijing intends to contribute to those efforts, stating only that “China is willing to contribute its own constructive efforts to promote and maintain world peace and stability.” So far, he recalled, his country has contributed humanitarian aid to Ukraine – this week it sent food and basic necessities worth five million yuan (717,000 euros) – and will continue to do so.
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The press conference that Li offered this Friday was his last as prime minister, something that he himself confirmed in his speech. Chinese law provides for a 10-year term limit for the head of government. Li, who came to his current post in 2013, will step down in 2023, after the Chinese Communist Party holds its 20th Congress and undergoes a renewal of leadership positions. The exception will be President Xi, who, except for a major surprise, will see his mandate renewed for at least the next five years.
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