WangYi
© Kremlin.ru/KJN
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi
A tweet issued by Chinese state media reads:
"#China urges the US to disclose details on US-financed biological labs in Ukraine, including types of viruses stored and research has been conducted, said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, calling on all parties to ensure safety of these labs given current situation."
It came as China's foreign minister called Russia his country's "most important strategic partner" as Beijing continues to refuse to condemn the invasion of Ukraine despite growing pressure from the US and European Union (EU) to use its influence to rein Moscow in.

Wang Yi said Chinese ties with Moscow constitute "one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world".

Beijing has said sanctions create new issues and threaten a political settlement of the conflict.

Mr Wang, at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China's ceremonial parliament, said:
"No matter how perilous the international landscape, we will maintain our strategic focus and promote the development of a comprehensive China-Russia partnership in the new era. The friendship between the two peoples is iron clad."
Much attention has been paid to a meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on February 4, after which a joint statement was issued affirming "strong mutual support for the protection of their core interests".

Russia said it endorses China's view of self-governing Taiwan as an "inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan", while China backed Russia in opposing the further enlargement of NATO.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has drawn comparisons to China's own threat to invade Taiwan to bring what it considers a wayward province under its control. In a less-than-subtle dig at Taiwan ally the US, Mr Wang said:
"Taiwan was a 'fundamentally different' issue from Ukraine because the island is 'an inalienable part of China's territory.'

"Some people, while being vocal about the principle of sovereignty on the Ukraine issue, have kept undermining China's sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Taiwan question. This is a blatant double standards."
China and Russia have increasingly aligned their foreign policies against the liberal Western order and their militaries have carried out exercises together and flown joint air patrols, as their relationship has taken on the trappings of an informal alliance.

Mr Wang accused the US on Monday of trying to create an Asian version of NATO.

Mr Xi's government has refused to criticise the Russian invasion but tried to distance itself from Mr Putin's war by calling for dialogue and the respect of national sovereignty. This prompted suggestions that Mr Putin failed to tell the Chinese leader his plans before their February statement.

Along with denouncing trade and financial sanctions on Moscow, Beijing says Washington is to blame for the conflict for failing to take Russia's security concerns into consideration.

During an hour-long phone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday, Mr Wang said China opposes any moves that "add fuel to the flames" in Ukraine.

Mr Wang said China hopes the fighting will stop as soon as possible and called for negotiations to resolve the immediate crisis, as well as talks on creating a balanced European security mechanism.

He said the US and EU should pay attention to the negative impact of NATO's eastward expansion on Russian security.