February 23, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9783

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi: 'Sovereignty, Independence And Territorial Integrity... Should Be Respected... And That Applies Equally To Ukraine'; 'Russia's Reasonable Security Concerns Should Be Taken Seriously'

February 23, 2022
Russia, China | Special Dispatch No. 9783

On February 19, 2022, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the three-day 58th Munich Security Conference via videolink, at the invitation of conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger. He also delivered a keynote speech at a special event, titled In the Spotlight: China On the International Stage, during which he interacted with Ischinger and took questions from the audience.[1]

Commenting on the recent Russia-U.S. standoff over Ukraine, Wang stated that NATO, as a "product of the Cold War," needs to "adapt" to "the changing circumstances." All countries' "sovereignty," "independence" and "territorial integrity" should be "respected" and "safeguarded," he said, adding: "And that applies equally to Ukraine." Asking whether NATO's eastern expansion would truly contribute to long-term stability in Europe, he said that Ukraine should be a bridge linking the West and the East, and not a frontline for confrontation between major powers, and that Russia's "reasonable security concerns" should be respected and taken seriously.

Two days later, at the February 21 press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated that China's "consistent view" is that "sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity" should be respected, and expressed hope that all the parties would return to the negotiating table.[2]

On February 22, Wang Wenbin said about Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics: "China is closely monitoring the evolving situation in Ukraine. China's position on the Ukraine issue is consistent. The legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be jointly upheld. What has happened on the Ukraine issue has much to do with the long delay in the effective implementation of the Minsk-2 agreement. China will continue to engage all parties based on the merits of the matter itself. The situation in Ukraine is getting worse. China once again calls on all parties to exercise restraint, appreciate the importance of implementing the principle of indivisible security, and de-escalate the situation and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation."[3]

In response to a question by a New York Times reporter on whether China sees any parallels between Russia's assertion that Ukraine is not a separate state and Beijing's assertion that Taiwan is a part of China, Wang Wenbin said: "Since you mentioned the Taiwan question, I would like to stress that there is but one China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. This is an indisputable historical and legal fact. The one-China principle is a universally-recognized norm governing international relations. The Chinese people have the strong resolve, determination and capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity."[4]

Below is the Chinese Foreign Ministry's summary of Wang's keynote speech at the In the Spotlight: China On the International Stage special event at the 58th Munich Security Conference.:[5]


Wang Yi: 'NATO, A Product Of The Cold War, Needs To Adapt Itself To The Changing Circumstances'

"On the evening of 19 February 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi was invited to attend the China session of the 58th Munich Security Conference via video link in Beijing, and delivered a keynote speech. The State Councilor answered the moderator's questions on China's attitude and position regarding NATO's eastward expansion, the security of Europe and the situation concerning Ukraine.

"Wang Yi noted that since the Cold War is long gone, NATO, a product of the Cold War, needs to adapt itself to the changing circumstances. If NATO keeps expanding eastward, will this be conducive to peace and stability in Europe, and will this contribute to long-term stability in Europe? This is a question that merits serious consideration by European friends.

"Wang Yi stressed that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected and safeguarded. This is a basic norm of international relations that embodies the purposes of the UN Charter. It is also the consistent, principled position of China. And that applies equally to Ukraine. If anyone questions China's attitude on this matter, it is ill-intended sensationalization and a distortion of China's position.

"Wang Yi stated that China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has always decided on its position and approached international affairs based on the merits of issues. On the Ukrainian issue, China believes that it is imperative to return to the Minsk II agreement, the starting point of this matter, as quickly as possible. The agreement is a binding instrument negotiated by the parties concerned and endorsed by the UN Security Council, and provides the only viable way out. State Councilor Wang noted that to his knowledge, Russia and the EU both support Minsk II, and in his recent telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the U.S. side also expressed its support. In this context, shouldn't the relevant parties sit down together for a thorough discussion to work out a roadmap and timetable for the implementation of the agreement? What all parties need to do now is to earnestly shoulder responsibilities and work for peace, instead of increasing tensions, stoking panic, or hyping up war.

"As for the prospect of the issue, Wang Yi stressed that Ukraine should be a bridge for communication between the East and the West, not a frontier for confrontation between major powers. Regarding the security of Europe, all parties are free to raise their own concerns, and Russia's reasonable security concerns should be respected and taken seriously. China hopes all parties will pursue dialogue and consultation to find a solution that is truly conducive to safeguarding the security of Europe."


[1], February 19, 2022.

[2], February 21, 2022.

[3], February 22, 2022.

[4], February 22, 2022.

[5], February 19, 2022.

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