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‘Downright Lie’: China Refutes NYT Claims Alleging Beijing Knew About Russia's Spec Op in Ukraine

© AP Photo / Ng Han GuanChinese Communist Party members pose for photos with a sculpture of the party flag outside the Museum of the Communist Party of China of China here in Beijing, China, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.
Chinese Communist Party members pose for photos with a sculpture of the party flag outside the Museum of the Communist Party of China of China here in Beijing, China, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2022
Despite the fact that Beijing hasn’t explicitly expressed support for the special operation, Chinese officials noted that Kremlin’s security concerns over NATO’s eastward expansion are justified and should be respected.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, referring to a recent report from The New York Times, condemned on Wednesday speculation that Chinese authorities knew in advance about the decision of President Vladimir Putin to start the special operation in Ukraine.
The article from 2 March claimed, citing top US and European officials, whose conclusions were based on a secret Western intelligence report that Beijing allegedly had direct information about Russia's plans regarding the special operation.
According to the report, China was not aiming to preserve peace and security, but to protect its Winter Olympics from being overshadowed by conflict. Chinese leader Xi Jinping reportedly asked President Putin to delay the launch of the operation until after the Olympics.
Zhao noted that the US criticizes China's position on Ukraine in order to “seek space for the plot of simultaneously suppressing China and Russia.”
“The US has been disseminating disinformation about China on the Ukraine issue, with the attempt to shift blame, stoke confrontation and profit from the issue,” he said. “The practice is despicable and malicious.”
He claimed that the Ukraine issue has evolved to what it is today partly because of NATO’s actions.
“The more it racks its brains to discredit China with lies and hype things up, the more it exposes its credibility deficit to the international community,” he concluded.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a welcoming ceremony for Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos outside the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China May 14, 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.03.2022
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Speculation was fueled, among other things, by the latest Putin-Xi summit in Beijing that took place ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on 4 February. Both leaders pledged to stand together in a “new era” of international relations and global strategic stability.
“Friendship between the two states has no limits,” they said in a joint statement following the meeting. “There are no ‘forbidden areas’ for cooperation.”
After the special operation started at the end of February, China abstained from voting during the meeting of the UN Security Council on 27 February on the resolution to convene a special session of the General Assembly on Ukraine. Later, Permanent Representative of China to the UN Zhang Jun said that the resolution adopted later by the UN General Assembly to condemn Russia's special operation did not take into account the history and complexity of the crisis.
On 8 March, he stressed the importance of equal dialogue between the US, NATO and the European Union with Russia, and attention to “Moscow's security concerns.” These concerns are related to the threats to Russia coming from “NATO's eastward enlargement for a long time,” according to Zhang Jun.
Chinese inspectors patrol past oil tanks at the Dagang commercial oil reserve base - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.03.2022
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On Wednesday, Xi Jinping said that both sides of the Ukrainian crisis should be encouraged to maintain the negotiation efforts, overcome difficulties and continue contacts. The main task for peaceful settlement at the moment, according to the Chinese president, is to prevent further escalation and not let it get out of control. He also expressed concern and regret over the current crisis in Europe.
US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said in turn that Western leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, are putting pressure on China to abandon its neutral position on the conflict.
Apart from that, the US has threatened to deprive Chinese companies of access to American equipment and software in case they ignore the sanctions against Russia.
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