China has stepped up its efforts to rally support for its stance on the war in Ukraine, by warning that Western-led sanctions on Russia are already hurting developing countries. On Monday, Dai Bing, the country’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told the Security Council that “ever-escalating, all-encompassing” sanctions will hit international food and energy markets, “affecting the normal lives of many people and creating new humanitarian problems”. “The majority of the world’s developing countries are not parties to this conflict and should not be drawn into it. Nor should they be forced to suffer the consequences of geopolitical conflicts and great power games,” Dai said. “The imposition of sanctions and economic blockades will only artificially exacerbate food shortages and price distortions, further disrupting the supply chain of the world food industry, pushing up food prices and putting an unnecessary burden on developing countries.” Dai called for stronger international coordination to ensure global food security. Russia hits near Kyiv, other city despite vows to scale back attacks in Ukraine Beijing is trying to maintain a balancing act under increasing pressure from the West not to side with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine . Early this month it was among 35 countries that abstained in a vote to condemn the invasion at the United Nations General Assembly. It said the move was designed to give peace a chance. China has refused to condemn the attack or cut economic ties with Russia, but has called for a peaceful resolution and said Ukraine’s sovereignty should be respected. Beijing has said that countries including Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan and Zambia have all backed its stance and condemned sanctions. On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the pair expressed concern about the “spillover effect of unilateral sanctions”. In an earlier meeting with Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, Wang said China would support Indonesia, which holds the G20 presidency, removing “disruptions” from the agenda of the G20 summit. Dai said further conflict was in no one’s interests and encouraged the United States, Nato and European Union to talk to Russia, and warned that the “pursuit of group confrontation and absolute security” is “precisely the most insecure approach”. Dai said further conflict was in no one’s interests and encouraged the United States, Nato and European Union to talk to Russia, and warned that the “pursuit of group confrontation and absolute security” is “precisely the most insecure approach”. IAEA chief visits Chernobyl to ‘prevent nuclear accident’ at Ukraine power plant He warned there was a “serious” challenge to global food security and asked the relevant UN agencies to “play an active role” in helping developing countries withstand the impact. Wheat prices rose by more than 50 per cent and hit record levels after Russia’s invasion, and the price of corn, sunflower oil and fertilisers have also risen. Russia and Ukraine together count for 23 per cent of global wheat exports. Russia is also the world’s top exporter of potash fertiliser, a key nutrient for major commodity crops. Now Ukraine’s farming season is being disrupted by the war and Russia’s exports will be seriously affected by sanctions. World Food Programme senior regional spokesperson Abeer Etefa said last month that the war in Ukraine could drive millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa into poverty. Egypt has already introduced bread subsidies and countries such as Yemen, which is embroiled in its own long-running war, have warned that more people will not be able to afford food.