China Foreign Minister, US Secretary of State Blinken discuss Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a picture before their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy October 31, 2021.

Tiziana Fabi | Reuters

BEIJING – China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed tensions in Ukraine during a phone call Tuesday, according to official statements from both the US and China.

Just hours before the call, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two breakaway parts of Ukraine after recognizing their independence. The move drew condemnation from Western leaders, who have pushed for a diplomatic resolution.

“The situation in Ukraine is getting worse,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement about Wang’s call with Blinken. It said the issues around Ukraine were closely related to delayed implementation of the new Minsk agreement.

That referred to an agreement for reducing conflict signed in 2015 by representatives of Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and pro-Russia separatists.

“The Chinese side calls again for all parties to exercise restraint, recognize the importance of implementing the principle of indivisibility of security, and ease the situation and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation,” China’s foreign ministry said in a Chinese-language statement translated by CNBC.

Earlier in the day the US State Department announced that Wang and Blinken held a call to discuss North Korea and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

“The Secretary underscored the need to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” spokesman Ned Price said in a brief statement.

Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in the city. After the meeting, the two leaders issued a lengthy statement that did not mention Ukraine by name, but opposed “further enlargement” of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Ukraine has wanted to join the powerful military alliance, but Russia has objected on grounds that such a move would be a direct threat to its borders. An attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on all member countries.

The 17-day Winter Olympic Games ended Sunday.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the US broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.


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