UPDATE 1-U.S., China agree Ukraine's territorial integrity important - White House
WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - China agrees with the United States that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected in its dispute with Russia, the White House said in statement on Wednesday after top-level contacts between the two countries.
In comments posted on its website, China's Foreign Ministry said that State Councilor Yang Jiechi had urged all sides to exercise restraint and said the crisis must be resolved through political and diplomatic means.
The legitimate rights and interests of all ethnic groups in Ukraine must be taken into account, added Yang, who spoke to President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice.
China is treading a cautious path in the Ukraine dispute, withholding criticism of strategic partner Russia while adhering to its traditional policy of not interfering in the affairs of other countries.
A White House statement said Yang and Rice reaffirmed the importance to U.S.-China relations of deepening "practical cooperation to address regional and global challenges."
"They also agreed that the United States and China share an interest in supporting efforts to identify a peaceful resolution to the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine that is based on respect for international law and upholds Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the statement said.
The United States has engaged in global diplomatic efforts to gather opposition against Russia's deployment of troops in the Crimea region of southern Ukraine.
Obama spoke earlier to British Prime Minister David Cameron as Washington seeks to mount European pressure on Europe.
Vice President Joe Biden talked by phone with Latvian President Andris Berzins to underscore the United States' commitment to peace and security in the Baltic region.