China will not join sanctions against Russia, banking regulator says

Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, attends a news conference of the State Council Information Office on promoting the high-quality development of the Banking and Insurance Industry on March 2, 2021 in Beijing.

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BEIJING – China’s banking and insurance regulator said on Wednesday that the country opposes and will not join financial sanctions against Russia.

“Everyone is watching recent military conflict, or war, between Russia and Ukraine,” Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said at a press conference in Mandarin, according to a CNBC translation. “China’s position has been clearly stated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our international policies are consistent.”

“Regarding financial sanctions, we do not support that,” said Guo, noting particular opposition to “unilateral” sanctions, which he said do not effectively address problems. “China will not join such sanctions.”

Guo is also Chinese Communist Party secretary of the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank. He added Wednesday that he hopes all sides will maintain normal economic exchanges and that the sanctions have had no apparent impact on China so far.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refused to call Russia’s attack on Ukraine an invasion. Beijing’s line has been to promote negotiations, as China tries to position itself further away from Russia than was portrayed in early February during a high-profile meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The US, UK and European Union have scrambled to slap sanctions on Russia, first in an attempt to prevent conflict with Ukraine, and subsequently to pressure Putin to halt his invasion of Ukraine.

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