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Chinese Premier Won't Say If Crimea's Annexation Was Illegal

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on March 15 that his government respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, but would not be drawn on whether China considers Crimea to be part of Ukraine or Russia.

Speaking at a news conference at the end of an 11-day meeting of the ruling party’s nominal parliament, the National People’s Congress, Li said: “On the issue of Ukraine, China has adopted an objective and just position. We respect Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

But he said: "At the same time, the Ukraine issue has added to the complexity of the geopolitical situation and has affected the process of the global economic recovery. We still hope that this issue can be resolved via dialogue, negotiations, and consultations."

His remarks came as Moscow prepares for celebrations marking last year’s March 18 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The annexation by Russia has been deemed illegal by the United Nations General Assembly, the United States, the European Union, and NATO.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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