China’s initial response to President Vladimir V. Putin’s call-up of additional troops for Russia’s war in Ukraine was cautiously measured on Wednesday, reflecting Beijing’s efforts to keep a distance from Russia’s invasion even while trying to maintain a strong partnership with Moscow.
“China’s stance on the Ukraine crisis has been consistent and clear,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a regular news briefing in Beijing, the Chinese state-run media reported. “We call on all the parties involved to reach a cease-fire through dialogue and negotiations, and find a way as quickly as possible to take into account the reasonable security concerns of all sides.”
“We also hope that the international community will create the conditions and room to bring this about,” he added.
At the start of talks with China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, in Uzbekistan last week, Mr. Putin said that China had “questions and concerns” about Russia’s war in Ukraine, appearing to nod to qualms in Beijing about the direction that the fighting has taken. But Mr. Xi also sees Russia as a vital counterweight to the United States.
He told Mr. Putin that China would “work with Russia to extend strong mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said at the time in a summary of their talks.