Mar 19, 2022 - World

China's vice foreign minister blames NATO for war in Ukraine

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng (R) attends the Universal Periodic Review of China before the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on November 6, 2018 in Geneva
Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs Le Yucheng attends the Universal Periodic Review of China before the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on Nov. 6, 2018, in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

China's vice foreign minister on Saturday blamed NATO for the war in Ukraine and criticized the West's sanctions against Russia, AP reports.

Driving the news: Le Yucheng speaking at a conference in Beijing called NATO a "Cold War vestige," warning that its expansion could cause "repercussions too dreadful to contemplate," per AP.

  • "Sanctions against Russia are now going to such lengths that globalization is used as a weapon, even people from the sports, cultural, art and entertainment communities are not spared," he also said.

The big picture: Le's remarks come one day after President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about the war, with Biden describing "the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia," according to a White House readout of the call.

  • China has not publicly condemned or defended Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but Chinese officials and state media have largely put the blame on the U.S. and the West, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

Go deeper: "Biden and Xi hold first call since Russia invaded Ukraine"

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