BEIJING -- The conflict in Ukraine has "sounded an alarm for humanity," Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Wednesday, as China continues to assert its neutrality while backing its ally Russia.
China has refused to criticize Russia's war in Ukraine or even to refer to it as an invasion in deference to Moscow, while also condemning U.S.-led sanctions against Russia and accusing the West of provoking Moscow.
"The Ukraine crisis has again sounded the alarm for humanity. Countries will surely end up in security hardships if they place blind faith in their positions of strength, expand military alliances, and seek their own safety at the expense of others," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying.
Xi, who did not propose any solutions, was speaking at the opening of a virtual business forum of the BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
He said sanctions could prove to be a "boomerang" and a "double-edged sword," and that the global community would suffer from "politicizing, mechanizing and weaponizing" global economic trends and financial flows.
Xi also said China would seek to reduce the damage to international supply chains caused by the covid-19 pandemic, which it has confronted with a hardline policy of lockdowns and quarantines, despite a diminishing number of cases and the increasing economic cost.
China's increasingly assertive foreign policy and drive to dominate global markets have prompted a backlash in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, including calls to replace Chinese suppliers and reduce reliance on its economy.
Xi called for nations to work together on such issues, saying efforts to "build a small courtyard with high walls" was in no one's interest.
"Economic globalization is an objective requirement for the development of productive forces and an irresistible historical trend," Xi said.
"Going backwards in history and trying to block other people's road will only block your own road in the end," he said.