March 4, 2014 / 11:50 PM / 5 years ago

China's Xi says Russia can push for political solution in Ukraine

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he believes Russia can push for a political settlement to the Ukraine crisis in coordination with other parties, China’s foreign ministry said.

Xi said during a telephone call late on Tuesday “the situation in Ukraine, which seems to be accidental, has the elements of the inevitable”, the foreign ministry said in a brief statement.

He described the situation in Ukraine as “highly complicated and sensitive”, with regional and global implications.

“China believes that Russia can coordinate with other parties to push for the political settlement of the issue so as to safeguard regional and world peace and stability,” Xi told Putin, according to the ministry statement.

“China supports the proposals and mediation efforts of the international community that are conducive to reduction of tension,” Xi said.

The Kremlin said Putin and Xi hold “close” views on Ukraine. Russia and China both have veto powers on the U.N. Security Council.

Moscow said Putin and Xi expressed hope that “the steps taken by the Russian leadership will allow for the reduction of ... tension and provide for the security of Russian-speaking citizens living in Crimea and the eastern regions of Ukraine”.

China and Russia have close ties and see eye-to-eye on many international diplomatic issues, such as the crisis in Syria.

China has so far shown little public interest in participating in any financial aid for Ukraine, or getting involved diplomatically, in line with its low-key approach to many international crises.

The foreign ministry has said it will not interfere in what it considers an internal affair and that it respects the Ukrainian people’s decisions, adding that it would like to continue to develop “friendly cooperation” with Ukraine.

China’s top newspaper criticized the West last week for being locked in a “Cold War mentality” against Russia in the contest for influence over Ukraine, calling for the shackles of such outmoded thinking to be cast off.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait

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