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China Urges Resumption of Grain, Fertiliser Exports from Ukraine and Russia

China is calling for the resumption of grain and fertiliser exports from Ukraine and Russia as soon as possible following the collapse of a trade deal that ensured the safety of ships passing through the Black Sea. Geng Shuang, China’s deputy representative to the United Nations, told a UN Security Council discussion on Friday that all countries involved needed to make a concerted effort to resolve the impasse.

“[Countries need to] make joint efforts … to accelerate dialogue and consultation and seek a balanced solution to the legitimate concerns of all parties, and resume at an early date the export of food and fertilisers,” Geng said, according to a transcript on the Chinese mission’s website. He said such action was “in the interest of safeguarding international food security, and especially in the interest of alleviating the food crisis in developing countries”.

Geng also noted “recent attacks on major civilian infrastructure” and called for calm to prevent the conflict from escalating further.

His appeal followed Moscow’s decision on Monday to pull out of the Black Sea deal brokered by the UN and Turkey a year ago.

The agreement allowed Ukrainian grain to be shipped safely via its Black Sea ports to customers such as China, which sources much of its corn from Ukraine.
But that changed when Ukraine attacked the Kerch Bridge, a key Russian supply line linking the Crimean Peninsula and mainland Russia.

Since then, Russia has launched repeated missile attacks on Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, upending agriculture exports destined for China and damaging a Chinese consulate in Odesa.
No consulate employees were injured in the attack on Thursday, and Beijing said at that time that it was closely following the situation.

The ports in Ukraine are some of the world’s most important routes for exports of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.

Ukraine is a large producer of grains and oilseeds, and both Russia and Ukraine were major exporters of wheat, together accounting for about 30 per cent of all wheat and about 18 per cent of all corn exports before the war, according to Kyiv.
China has not condemned Russia’s invasion but recently it has expressed interest in expanding trade ties with Ukraine.

In Beijing this week, vice commerce minister Ling Ji told Taras Kachka, Ukraine’s deputy economic minister, that Beijing was ready to work with Kyiv to “actively” develop bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Source : SCMP