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China’s ambassador tries to cast ‘no limits’ with Russia as a ‘misunderstanding’

The ambassador, who arrived in Washington a year ago, said China is not interested in “confrontation,” adding that both Russia and China share a common rejection of the “Cold War mentality.” Qin refused to call Russia’s war on Ukraine an invasion, instead referring to it as a “crisis.”

The comments come as China continues its tightrope walk regarding Russia’s attack in Ukraine — refusing to condemn Moscow while maintaining trade with its neighbor — adding an additional layer to the already tense U.S.-Chinese relations. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that his country’s support for Russia was complicating China’s relationship with the United States.

Just as Wang did with Blinken, Qin placed the blame for the troubled relationship squarely at the feet of the U.S., portraying China as the good actor amid the tensions.

Qin’s answers were overwhelmingly a retread of familiar Chinese foreign ministry cliches, including criticism of the U.S. for a “Cold War mentality” and dismissals of U.S. concern about threats to democracy and human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong as “lies” and “malicious attacks.”

Phelim Kine contributed to this report.

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