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China Opposes Russia Sanctions, Calls U.S. Actions ‘Immoral’

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China expressed opposition to sanctions against Russia and criticized the U.S. for inflaming the Ukraine crisis, suggesting its support for NATO’s expansion had left President Vladimir Putin with few options.

Beijing didn’t view sanctions as “the best way to solve problems,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Wednesday at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

She also criticized the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for placing offensive weapons near Russia, asking whether “they ever thought about the consequences of cornering a major power.”

The crisis in Ukraine has forced China into a delicate balancing act as it seeks to support Russia against the U.S. while also portraying itself as a responsible global power.

President Joe Biden placed sanctions on Moscow for its actions over disputed Ukrainian territory and vowed more would come, as other U.S. allies also hit Russia with punitive economic measures.

Hua called the U.S. the “culprit” of the Ukraine situation, saying it was “adding oil to a burning house while pointing fingers at others trying to put out the fire.”

“This act is irresponsible and immoral,” she said of the U.S. moves.

China often rails against U.S. sanctions, which have been placed on Beijing over issues like alleged human-rights abuses in the far western region of Xinjiang and moves to jail democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Hua also contrasted the actions of the U.S. with those of China, which she said were more constructive.

“Unlike the U.S. which has been sending arms, escalating tensions and hyping up the possibility of war, China has been calling on all parties to respect and value each other’s legitimate security concerns,” said Hua, who conducted the daily Foreign Ministry briefing for the first time since September.

“We have been making efforts to resolve the issue through negotiations and consultations to protect regional peace and stability,” she added.

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