China again calls for cease-fire on anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war

China on Friday called for a ceasefire and peace talks between Russia and Ukraine — again. It comes days after the U.S. said it had information that suggests China is considering sending “lethal support” to Russia.

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China has called for a ceasefire and peace talks between Russia and Ukraine — again.

In a 12-point release published Friday, China’s foreign ministry said: “All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire.”

While the paper repeated Beijing’s talking points, it was released on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine.

The position paper also comes days after as Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. has information that suggests China is considering sending “lethal support” to Russia.

“Nuclear weapons must not be used,” the Chinese government said in its paper, titled “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis.”

In the paper, the Chinese government urged the international community to support the “right approach” in facilitating peace talks between the two countries and said Beijing wanted to “play a constructive role.”

Without mentioning the U.S. or its allies that support Washington-led sanctions, China said, “Relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ against other countries, so as to do their share in deescalating the Ukraine crisis.”

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China previously voiced concerns about the ongoing war in Ukraine, with Premier Li Keqiang saying in March last year that he was “deeply” worried about the crisis in the region.

However, it’s less clear how much Beijing has done to support peace talks, or is practically able to do so. Its leaders have been in frequent communication.

Wang Yi — China’s former foreign minister who was recently promoted to a more senior diplomatic role — met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow this week, according to state media. Wang said at the meeting it’s important not to give up on efforts toward peace, the state media report said.

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In addition to significant cost to human life, the war in Ukraine has devastated the local economy, one of the world’s largest grain producers.

As the war enters its second year, analysts told CNBC that Russia will seek to capture key regions of Ukraine.

Speaking from Beijing on the one-year anniversary of the war, the European Union’s ambassador to China, Jorge Toledo Albinana, called on China to take action to support peace in Ukraine.

“We continue to call on our host, China, to fulfill its special responsibility,” he said, adding that China has the duty to “defend the charter the face of aggressions,” he said during a livestreamed briefing.

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“If China decides to aid Russia with weapons, then globalization as we know it is over and supply chains will be tossed into chaos once again,” he wrote.

“If one broadens out the perspective of geopolitical risks we can see that the upside risks are considerable should the war in Ukraine take a turn for the worse,” he said.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.


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