In response to the Ukraine conflict, China maintains its nuclear posture.

Since Russian tanks entered Ukraine in February, Beijing has refused to call the military aggression an “invasion” or “war,” and has bolstered Russian propaganda blaming the conflict on NATO and the US while condemning sanctions. According to Chinese readouts, when discussing Ukraine with leaders from the United States, France, and other countries, Xi invariably used terms like “the Ukraine crisis” or “the Ukraine issue,” while avoiding the word “war.”

During those meetings, Xi reiterated China’s call for a cease-fire through dialogue and agreed to oppose the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to readouts from his interlocutors – but those remarks are not included in China’s account of the talks. Later, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Chinese state media that Xi reiterated China’s position in his meeting with Biden that “nuclear weapons cannot be used, and a nuclear war cannot be fought.”

Wang praised Russia for holding the same position during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Tuesday. “China has noticed that Russia has recently reaffirmed the established position that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” Wang was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua. Wang is one of the few, if not the only, foreign officials to have met with Lavrov, who faced isolation and condemnation at a summit where he stood in for Putin.

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