China has criticized Western sanctions on Russia and said it will not follow suit, calling the measures “never a fundamental and effective way to solve problems” and saying it “always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions.”
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the United States will sanction Russia’s financial institutions and oligarchs after Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered troops into separatist-held parts of eastern Ukraine. The United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan also announced fresh sanctions on Russia.
When asked in the Foreign Ministry’s daily briefing whether China would consider following suit, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying responded by telling the reporter, “You obviously lack a basic understanding of Chinese government policy.”
“We believe that sanctions are never the fundamental and effective way to solve problems. China always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions,” Hua said, reiterating that the two parties should seek a resolution through dialogue and negotiation.
China is Russia’s biggest trade partner for both exports and imports, buying a third of Russia’s crude oil exports in 2020 and supplying it with manufactured products from cell phones and computers to toys and clothing. The China-Russia trade relationship has grown significantly since 2014 when the West first imposed sanctions against Russian entities over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
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