BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday voiced opposition to sanctions and called for a political solution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine's southern Crimea autonomous republic.
"The Chinese side is always opposed to the frequent use of sanctions or the threat of sanctions in international relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a daily news briefing.
Qin made the remarks in response to a question on China's stance as some officials from the United States and the European Union were talking about sanctions against Russia.
On Thursday, the U.S. government announced visa bans and an asset freeze against those involved in what it called Russia's takeover of Crimea, following suspension of trade and investment talks and military-to-military engagement with Russia.
U.S. President Barack Obama has told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Russia's actions in Crimea "are in violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, which has led us to take several steps in response, in coordination with our European partners."
Qin said China hopes "all sides concerned will take measures to avoid further escalation of the tension and work together to seek a political solution to the crisis, which is the only right way out."
As to the Crimean parliament's plan for a referendum on remaining part of Ukraine or joining Russia, Qin called on parties concerned to act within the framework of the law, conduct dialogue and negotiations, and address problems peacefully.
"(We) hope that all the sides will substantially respect the legal rights of all ethnic groups in Ukraine, resume social order at an early date, and safeguard peace and stability in the region," said the spokesman.
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