March 6, 2014 / 5:13 AM / 6 years ago

U.S., China officials agree Ukraine's territorial integrity important

WASHINGTON (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.

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.

President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, spoke to Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi about the Ukraine situation.

A White House statement outlining what was discussed said the two officials 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.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Ken Wills

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