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China Urges Restraint in Ukraine, Ducks Comment on Crimea Vote

BEIJING — A top Chinese diplomat repeated Beijing's call for calm and restraint in Ukraine on Monday, but avoided commenting on a referendum in Crimea after the region's Moscow-backed leaders declared a 96 percent vote in favor of joining Russia.

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong, speaking to reporters ahead of a visit to Europe by President Xi Jinping later this month, said that a political settlement was the only way to resolve the Ukraine crisis.

"We are paying very close attention to the situation in Ukraine," Li said, when asked about Crimea.

"We hope all parties can calmly maintain restraint to prevent the situation from further escalating and worsening. Political resolution and dialogue is the only way out."

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