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IN BRIEF: Chinese Foreign Minister on Asian version of NATO, Ukrainian scenario in Pacific

At his first big press conference since taking office as China's Foreign Minister last December, Qin Gang answered 15 questions from Chinese and foreign reporters
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang
© Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

BEIJING, March 7. /TASS/. The United States is trying to create an ‘Asia-Pacific version of NATO’ against China and repeat the Ukrainian scenario in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday at an annual news conference on the sidelines of the National People's Congress session.

At his first big press conference since taking office as China's Foreign Minister last December, Qin Gang answered 15 questions from Chinese and foreign reporters. He spoke about Beijing's foreign policy, its relations with Moscow, Washington and other leading powers, the situation in Ukraine and other topical issues.

TASS has gather the main theses of the high-ranking diplomat.

On situation in Ukraine

"The Ukrainian crisis is a tragedy that could have been avoided," "the result of catastrophic contradictions" in European security. Beijing hopes that Europe can "learn a lesson from this, become a real strategic autonomy and achieve sustainable development".

China is not the initiator or party to the conflict and has not supplied weapons to either Russia or Ukraine: "Why on earth would they try to shift the responsibility on China? It even comes to sanctions and threats. This is unacceptable to us."

At the same time, Beijing wonders why Washington can supply arms to Taiwan for years, but demands that the Chinese authorities refrain from military supplies to Moscow.

The situation in Ukraine is at a critical moment when it is necessary to choose between peaceful negotiations and escalation. Individual states are "frustrating attempts to restore peace talks," while an "invisible hand" is pushing to further prolong and escalate the conflict in order to use it "for its geopolitical purposes".

On relations with Russia

Moscow and Beijing promote multipolarity and democratization of international relations and their partnership serves as a guarantee of global strategic balance and stability: "The more volatility and unease there is in the world, the more stable China-Russia relations should be."

Contacts between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are the "compass and starting point" of bilateral relations.

In trade, Russia and China intend to use currencies that are "convenient, safe and reliable". "International currencies should not be used as a weapon to impose unilateral sanctions, they cannot become synonymous with harassment and threats."

On relations with US and ‘Asia-Pacific version’ of NATO

There is a "serious bias" in US policy toward China - Washington is always guided by Beijing's "presumption of guilt".

"The US assessment that China is a major strategic opponent and a threat to them is fundamentally flawed," and American attempts to stall Beijing's development "will inevitably fail": "You cannot build your own greatness at the expense of other nations."

In the case of the February incident with the Chinese balloon over US territory, Washington "created a diplomatic crisis that could have been avoided," even though it itself admitted that the object "did not pose any danger".

The US Indo-Pacific strategy, according to the American side, is aimed at strengthening "freedom and openness", but its real goal is to "encircle China", including creating "an Asia-Pacific version of NATO and undermining regional intergration". "We should not allow a repeat of the Ukrainian crisis in Asia".

On Taiwan

China will continue to make efforts for peaceful unification of the country, showing "as much goodwill as possible": "We [the Chinese and the people of Taiwan] are blood brothers." At the same time, Beijing is ready to "take all the necessary measures" to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

The Taiwan issue goes to "the very core" of China’s key interests, it is a country’s domestic affair and is "a red line in China-US relations that must not be crossed".

Washington's position on Taiwan is duplicitous, and if the problem is not "properly resolved", its relations with Beijing "will be shaken".