On Friday, China referred to the United States as the “main instigator” of the ongoing confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.
“As the culprit and major driver of the Ukraine issue, the US has led NATO in pursuing five rounds of eastward expansions in the next two decades or so since 1999,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a daily press briefing.
“NATO’s membership has grown from 16 to 30 countries, and the organization has moved over 1000 kilometers eastward, pushing Russia to the brink,” Zhao continued.
Zhao’s remarks come as the crisis in Ukraine continues to boil after Russian military forces invaded the neighboring country last month.
Despite the ongoing war between the two, the United States and Western nations that make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have continued to denounce Russia, putting sanctions on a variety of Russian economic sectors.
While the United States and NATO members have criticised Russia and President Vladimir Putin, China has remained silent on the subject, calling for peace between the two countries.
“China should join the rest of the world in firmly criticizing Russia’s ruthless invasion of Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference last month.
“We’re keeping a careful eye on any evidence of Chinese support for Russia,” Stoltenberg warned.
The Chinese state-run media source, the Global Times, slammed Stoltenberg’s remarks.
Zhao remarked on Friday that “NATO should have been dismantled after the collapse of the former Soviet Union,” in addition to naming the US the “instigator” in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Zhao also slammed the restrictions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western nations, stating, “China always opposes unilateral sanctions.”
“With regard to Ukraine, I’d want to reaffirm China’s commitment to a peaceful, independent foreign policy,” Zhao added.
This is not the first time the Chinese Foreign Ministry has referred to the U.S. as “instigators” of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
On March 3, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin referenced a tweet from former Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who wrote, “this war and suffering could have easily been avoided if Biden Admin/NATO had simply acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO, which would mean US/NATO forces right on Russia’s border.”
During the press conference on March 3, Wang said, “Tulsi Gabbard, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives said that the crisis could have been ended and the war avoided if President Biden had simply guaranteed NATO would not accept Ukraine as a member. But they chose not to do so.”
Wang continued, “We hope the instigators of this crisis will reflect on their role in the Ukraine crisis, earnestly shoulder due responsibilities and take concrete actions to de-escalate the situation and solve the problem, instead of blaming others.”
Metronews247 reached out to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the White House and the U.S. State Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.