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Russel reportedly said on Thursday Russia’s annexation of Crimea had heightened concerns among American allies in the region about the possibility of China using force to pursue its claims and that the US was committed to defending its Asian allies.
The US official also warned that sanctions by western nations on Russia should have a “chilling effect on anyone in China who might contemplate the Crimea annexation as a model.”
China has repeatedly made its stance clear on the situation of Ukraine and the South China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.
“As to why the US official is deliberately linking the two issues and making it a story about China, you can go and ask him,” Hong said when responding to a journalist’s question in Beijing.
The US was echoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who had last week drawn an analogy between Russia’s behaviour in Crimea and China’s actions in the disputed East and South China Seas.
Abe told G7 members in Hague last month that something similar to Russia’s seizing of Crimea could happen in Asia.