China calls for calm amid tensions over Russian jet downing
China’s Foreign Ministry called for calm on Friday over growing tensions about Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane, urging the international community to coordinate in the fight against terror to avoid such incidents.
In an escalating war of words, President Tayyip Erdogan responded to Russian accusations that Turkey has been buying oil and gas from Islamic State and Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria by accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers, which include Moscow, of being the real source of the group’s financial and military power.
The shooting down of the jet by the Turkish air force on Tuesday was one of the most serious clashes between a NATO member and Russia, and further complicated international efforts to battle ISIS militants.
World leaders have urged both sides to avoid escalation, and China’s Foreign Ministry added its voice to that.
“A Russian warplane has been shot down and a pilot killed – this is an unfortunate incident and we express sympathy,” the ministry said in a brief statement on its website.
Opposing terrorism is an urgent task for the international community to face together, it added.
“The relevant parties should increase communication to avoid further escalating the situation. The international community should earnestly strengthen coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism to avoid this kind of incident from happening again.”
While relying on the region for oil supplies, China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
However, China has long said there is no military solution to Syria’s problems and has criticized the West and Russia for bombing campaigns there.
But China has its own worries about Uighurs from China’s far western region of Xinjiang travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight with militant groups there.
Earlier this month, ISIS said it had killed a Chinese hostage, prompting outrage from China.