Chinese officials called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Ukraine and Russia in a vaguely worded proposal Friday.
Despite claiming to be neutral in the war that started a year ago, Beijing has also declared a “no limits friendship” with Russia, and hasn’t criticised its invasion of Ukraine. By providing Ukraine with defensive arms, the West has been accused of provoking the conflict and “fanning the flames”.
Analysts said Beijing would be an unlikely broker based on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s plan.
All countries’ sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity should be respected, but it doesn’t say what will happen to the territory Russia has occupied since the invasion. In addition, it calls for an end to “unilateral” sanctions on Russia, indirectly criticizes NATO’s expansion, and condemns nuclear threats.
A professor at Nanyang Technological University and an expert on international security called the proposal “public relations on the part of China.” “I’m not convinced that this policy isto improve their credibility as an honest broker.”
Zhanna Leshchynska, charge d’affaires at the Ukrainian embassy in Beijing, said her country doesn’t want peace at all costs after China issued the paper.
During an address to a gathering at the EU mission to China marking the anniversary of the invasion, Leshchynska said, “We won’t agree to anything that keeps Ukraine occupied.”
Moscow didn’t respond right away, but Leonid Slutsky, a senior Russian lawmaker, said the plan marked the end of Western hegemony.
Several key points are in the Chinese proposal, but one is missing: “first and foremost, the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.”
In a non-binding resolution, the General Assembly called on Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces.
The 12-point paper also calls for sovereignty to be respected and sanctions against Russia to end. After disruptions pushed up global food prices, the 12-point paper urges measures to prevent attacks on civilians and civilian facilities, keep nuclear facilities safe, open humanitarian corridors for civilians, and ensure grain exports. China also called for an end to the “Cold War mentality” – its term for what it sees as U.S. hegemony and NATO alliances.
There’s only one viable solution to the Ukraine crisis: dialogue and negotiation. There were no details on how the talks should proceed, but “China will continue to play a constructive role.”
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said the country is “committed to peace talks,” and blasted Beijing’s critics for not encouraging negotiations enough.
Moscow and Kyiv might not be too excited about having China as a mediator because China’s backing for Russia isn’t too strong.
According to Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University, neither side is likely to pay much attention to the Chinese proposal.
Rather than criticizing NATO and drawing a comparison with Russia’s behavior, China feels the need to reiterate its self-perceived neutrality at this point.
Wang has called the U.S.’ allegation that China may provide Russia with military aid “nothing more than slander and smears.”
He talked about a “massive disinformation campaign against China” on Friday.
According to Der Spiegel, Russia’s military is negotiating with a Chinese drone manufacturer for “components and know-how” to manufacture about 100 suicide drones a month.
U.S.-China relations have hit a historic low over Taiwan, trade disputes, human rights and China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.
Deputy State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that the U.S. would reserve judgment on the proposal. However, he added that China wasn’t a neutral mediator because of its ties to Russia.
‘We want nothing more than a just and durable peace,’ he said, but we’re skeptical that reports of a proposal like this are constructive.’
Associated Press reporters Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine