The Chinese foreign ministry declined to take sides twice today when asked about the Skripal affair and the international diplomatic protest that followed the ex-spy's poisoning, saying that a "Cold War mentality" is the last thing the world needs.
"We know that the relevant parties have yet to reach a conclusion on the Skripal incident that all sides find acceptable, and in response to the collective actions by some countries and organizations to expel Russian diplomats, the Russian side has taken countermeasures accordingly," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters today. "China maintains that the relevant parties shall sort out the facts behind the Skripal incident at an early date and properly resolve disputes based on mutual respect and equal-footed consultation. The international community is challenged on so many fronts today. Cold War mentality and group confrontation is the last thing we need. We should all work together to preserve world peace, stability and security and build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equality, justice and win-win cooperation."
A reporter attempted a follow-up, but Shuang shot him down pretty quickly, saying only, "China maintains that the relevant parties shall sort out the facts behind the Skripal incident at an early date and properly resolve disputes based on mutual respect and equal-footed consultation."
China has managed to stay out of the growing international incident that started early last month when former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was allegedly poisoned with an exotic toxin in Salisbury, England. Skripal, who had previously spied for the British in Russia before being arrested and then freed there in a spy swap, was almost immediately suspected to have been targeted by the Russian government -- following other alleged Russian poisonings.
The Russian government has denied any link to the chemical attack, but the U.K. directly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of likely directing the hit. As a show of solidarity, more than two dozen nations expelled Russian diplomats and suspected intelligence officers, including the U.S., which kicked out 60 Russian officials. Moscow responded in kind, expelling foreign officials from its soil and an equal number of Americans.
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