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Overwhelming UN vote makes China’s Ukraine balancing act harder


An overwhelming vote by the United Nations on a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may increase the pressure on China to take a clearer position on the issue, according to Bloomberg. 

The UN General Assembly passed the measure urging Russia to immediately halt its “aggression” by a vote of 141 to 5 in an emergency session on Wednesday. Russia was joined by only Belarus a key launching point for its invasion Eritrea, North Korea and Syria in opposition to the non-binding resolution.

The vote cast a spotlight on China’s continued effort to avoid taking a clear stance against the military action by its close diplomatic partner, despite Beijing’s frequent advocacy for upholding sovereignty rights guaranteed by the UN’s charter. The country one of five veto-wielding members on the UN Security Council, was among 35 states who abstained from the vote.

China’s UN ambassador envoy, Zhang Jun, said the resolution “had not undergone full consultations within the whole membership, nor did it take full consideration the history and complexity of the current crisis,” according to the official Xinhua New Agency. “These are not in line with China’s consistent positions. Therefore, China had no choice but to abstain,” Zhang said.

The war is testing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s commitment last month to a “no limits” relationship with Putin, as the U.S. and its allies pile on sanctions and press Beijing to take a stand against military aggression. In recent days, Xi has urged Putin to pursue negotiations and China also abstained from a binding UN Security Council resolution condemning the attack. 

While Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the conflict as a “war” and urged the protection of civilians in a call with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba this week, China has refrained from publicly calling for a ceasefire or using the term “invasion.” China hasn’t criticized Russia, and continues to voice support for its security concerns and blame the U.S. for precipitating the crisis. 

Photo: bloomberg.com