2023-03-01 17:00


China seeks peace in Ukraine crisis

On February 24, as the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis reached its one-year mark, we released China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis. Overall, the response of the international community toward the document is positive. 

Many countries welcome and support the document, acknowledging China’s constructive role. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, says: “The plan put forward by the Chinese government is an important contribution.” However, some Western countries suspect China’s position and purpose, claiming China can’t be an “honest co-ordinator” due to its close relations with Russia. 

Since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, on the one hand, the West has been accusing China of doing nothing, demanding China’s effective role in the crisis by the use of its good relations with Russia. On the other hand, they’ve been questioning China’s normal bilateral exchanges with Russia and positive efforts on facilitating talks. Isn’t that Doublethink?

What has China said? To sum up, China’s principled position lays out 12 points, including respecting the sovereignty of all countries, abandoning the Cold War mentality, ceasing hostilities and resuming peace talks. China is not a concerned party or bystander, but a peace plan promoter. 

China has always independently assessed the situation on the basis of the historical context and the merits of the issue, actively promoting world peace and economic stability. The above position is in line with China’s consistent principles on the Ukraine crisis, and is based on our observation and conclusion one year after the outbreak.

The Ukraine crisis can only be resolved through political settlement. China’s position on that is consistent and stable. On February 25, 2022, one day after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, President Xi Jinping pointed out during his telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin that China has long held the basic position of respecting all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, and abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. As mentioned, it is important to reject the Cold War mentality; take seriously and respect the reasonable security concerns of all countries, and; reach a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiation. China supports Russia in resolving the issue through negotiation with Ukraine. 

Worryingly, the crisis has now turned into a confrontation between NATO and Russia, with risks of continuing escalation. While all parties are taking opposing positions and making calculations with great division, it’s the Ukrainian and Russian people who are bleeding.

The root cause is the unlimited eastward expansion of NATO, a pursuit of unilateral security. As the world’s largest military bloc, NATO can’t live without an enemy. The Ukrainian crisis provides the oxygen it needs for life extension. NATO won’t “waste this crisis-turned-opportunity” as it not only presses ahead with bringing in new members, but also expands to other regions. The US and NATO member countries are pouring out heavy weapons to the battlefield in Ukraine, much enjoyed by their military-industrial complex.

Though encircled by Western countries, led by the US, in fields including political, economic, trade and cultural sanctions, Russia hasn’t been brought down. In the recent State of the Nation address, President Putin said it’s impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield.

Besides, here comes the resurgence of the so-called “China Responsibility theory”. Some countries groundlessly claim that China “may give weapons to Russia”, trying to escalate conflict by smearing and pressuring China. The international society should be vigilant about this.

The development of China cannot happen without a secure international environment. Likewise, world security would not be possible without the security of China. Days before, China released the Global Security Initiative Concept Paper, which expounds the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, pursues the objective of building a security community, and advocates a new path to security featuring dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance and win-win over zero-sum. This demonstrates China’s firm resolve to defend global security.

All in all, the ups and downs of the Ukraine crisis last year fully show that there is no simple solution to a complex issue. We should address both symptoms and root causes. In the face of full escalation of the Ukraine crisis, striving for peace is the world consensus and solving it through negotiation is the key. China’s position paper can stand the test of time.

Dr Ruan Zongze is the consul-general of the People’s Republic of China in Brisbane.












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