China calls for calm and restraint over Ukraine

China urges restraint over Ukraine

Sat Mar 8, 2014 9:27AM GMT

China has called for calm and restraint over the issue of Ukraine.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press conference in Beijing on Saturday that at the moment the priority is to exercise calm and restraint and prevent further escalation of the situation in Ukraine.

The Chinese foreign minister said the crisis should be resolved through diplomacy.

“It is regrettable that the situation in Ukraine has come to what it is today, yet it is not by accident that the situation has reached this point.”

“The more complex the problem, the more necessary for it to be handled in a prudent way,” said the Chinese foreign minister.

He added that Beijing is in communication with various parties and that China would play its constructive role in bringing about a political settlement of the Ukraine issue.

Beijing says Western sanctions are not the best way for the international community to deal with the issue of Russian troops in Ukraine.

Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Friday that China has consistently “opposed the easy use of sanctions in international relations, or using sanctions as a threat.”

The United States said on Thursday that President Barack Obama has ordered property and visa sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials whom Washington says are violating the sovereignty of Ukraine.

On February 23, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Viktor Yanukovych and named Oleksandr Turchynov, the legislature’s newly-elected speaker, as interim president.

The ouster followed weeks of unrest that was triggered after Yanukovych refrained from signing the Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia in November 2013.

Meanwhile, local administration of Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region have called for a referendum on March 16 in order to decide whether the region should join Russia or not. Russian parliament has issued the green-light to the president to use military forces “to protect Russia’s interests in Crimea.”

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