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CCTV: US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the US is concerned about Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure which caused civilian casualties. However, China has yet to state its position explicitly. How does the foreign ministry view such criticism from other countries on China?
Zhao Lijian: Human lives are precious. Civilian casualties under all circumstances are heart-rending and lamentable. China has all along called for every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We still remember that in March 1999, the US-led NATO, without the Security Council’s mandate, flagrantly unleashed a ruthless bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 78 days, killing at least 2,500 innocent civilians and injuring around 10,000 people, most of them civilians. Over the past two decades or so, the US conducted tens of thousands of air strikes in places like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The number of innocent civilians killed can be anywhere between 22,000 and 48,000. When professing its concern for the welfare of the Ukrainian people, shouldn’t the US first express concern over the civilian casualties caused by all these military operations?
China has all along held an objective and just position on the Ukraine issue. We have been taking concrete actions to promote talks for peace ever since the conflict broke out. Our just position and constructive efforts, witnessed by all, have received the understanding and support of the international community, especially the vast developing world. What China provides to Ukraine are much-needed humanitarian supplies such as food, baby formula, sleeping bags, quilts and damp-proof mats. In contrast, what the US provides to Ukraine are lethal weapons. On March 16, the US “announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total US security assistance committed to Ukraine to $1 billion in just the past week”. Here I would like to share with you the list that Spokesperson Price mentioned. The new package includes, among others, 800 anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 portable, high-accuracy anti-armor systems, 7,000 small arms including machine guns and grenade launchers, and 20 million rounds of ammunition, artillery, and mortar rounds. The list goes on. Will the latest US assistance of weapons bring stability and security to Ukraine or cause more civilian casualties? Which do the civilians in Ukraine need more, food and sleeping bags or machine guns and mortar rounds? It won’t be difficult for anyone in his right mind with a shred of common sense to make the right call.
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