change in tone
China has suggested itself ready to take part in working toward a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, having on Tuesday denounced the crisis in "its strongest comments yet," the Financial Times reports.
In a statement following a phone call between Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba, China said it is "extremely concerned about the harm to civilians" in the ongoing conflict.
"Ukraine is willing to strengthen communications with China and looks forward to China playing a role in realizing a ceasefire," read the statement from Beijing, which also vaguely noted its respect for "the territorial integrity of all countries."
Wang also reportedly thanked Ukraine for helping evacuate Chinese citizens from the country.
The remarks "marked a change in tone from Beijing"; as recently as February 24, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry "characterized the situation as due to 'a combination of factors' but did not describe it as a violation," notes The Financial Times. And at the Winter Olympics last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and declared their countries' friendship one without limits.
Ukraine's Kuleba in turn on Tuesday said Yi had assured him "of China's readiness to make every effort to end the war on Ukrainian soil through diplomacy, including as a permanent member of the UN Security Council." Read more at the Financial Times.