Monday, July 22, 2024

China calls for a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine while questioning claims of neutrality


Hong Kong (CNN) China has repeated its calls for a political settlement to the Ukraine conflict on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion, at a time when Beijing is under increasing pressure. pressure from the United States and its allies about its growing partnership with Moscow.

in a recent version position paper On Friday, China’s foreign ministry called for a resumption of peace talks, an end to unilateral sanctions, and stressed its opposition to the use of nuclear weapons — a position Chinese leader Xi Jinping communicated to Western leaders last year.

The 12-point document is part of Beijing’s latest efforts to present itself as a neutral peace broker, as it struggles to balance its “borderless” relationship with Moscow and strained relations with the West as the war drags on.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Wang Yi, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, in Moscow on February 22, 2022.

“Conflict and war do not benefit anyone. All parties must show rationality and restraint, avoid fanning fires and exacerbating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating or even getting out of control,” the newspaper said.

Beijing’s claim to neutrality has been severely undermined by its refusal to acknowledge the nature of the conflict – it has so far avoided calling it an “invasion” – and its diplomatic and economic support for Moscow.

Western officials have also raised concerns that China may be considering providing lethal military aid to Russia, an accusation Beijing has denied.

The paper emphasized many of China’s current political positions, which include urging the two sides to resume peace talks. “Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukrainian crisis,” she said, adding that China would play a “constructive role,” without giving details.

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Despite claiming that “the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all states must be effectively upheld”, the document fails to acknowledge Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.

In a veiled criticism of the United States, the paper said the “Cold War mentality” must be abandoned.

“The security of the region should not be achieved through the strengthening or expansion of military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and properly addressed,” the statement said, apparently echoing Moscow’s view of blaming the West for provoking the war. through NATO expansion.

He also appears to be critical of the wide-ranging economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries. She added that “unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the problem, but only create new problems.” “The countries concerned must stop abusing unilateral sanctions and ‘long-term jurisdiction’ against other countries, in order to do their share in de-escalating the Ukraine crisis.

The paper was quickly criticized by US officials, with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan saying the war “could end tomorrow if Russia stops attacking Ukraine and withdraws its forces”.

“My first reaction to that is that it could stop at the first point, which is respect for the sovereignty of all nations,” Sullivan told CNN. “Ukraine was not attacking Russia. NATO was not attacking Russia. The United States was not attacking Russia. This was a war of Putin’s choosing.”

In Beijing, the EU’s ambassador to China, Jorge Toledo, told reporters at a briefing that China’s position paper is not a peace proposal, adding that the EU is “studying the paper closely,” according to Reuters.

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Meanwhile, Ukraine called the position paper a “good sign” but urged China to do more.

“China should do everything it can to stop the war, restore peace in Ukraine, and urge Russia to withdraw its forces,” Ukraine’s charge d’affaires to China Zhanna Leshchinska said at the same news conference in Beijing.

“With impartiality, China has to talk to both sides: Russia and Ukraine, and now we can see China not talking to Ukraine,” she said, noting that Kiev was not consulted before the paper was released.

The position paper was first discussed last week by senior diplomat Wang Yi at a security conference in Munich, where he tried to portray Beijing as a responsible negotiator for peace during a diplomatic charm offensive in Europe.

Wang visited Moscow as the last stop on his European tour, and met Putin on Wednesday.

Putin, who greeted Wang with outstretched arms as the Chinese diplomat entered the meeting room, He said Relations between Russia and China are “reaching new stages.”

“Russian-Chinese relations are developing as we planned in previous years. Everything is moving forward and developing,” Putin told reporters, sitting next to Wang. “Cooperation in the international arena between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, as we have said many times, is very important for the stability of the international situation.”

Wang said the two countries “often encounter crisis and chaos, but there are always opportunities in crises.”

“This requires us to identify changes more voluntarily and respond to changes more actively to strengthen our comprehensive strategic partnership,” Wang said.

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CNN’s Beijing bureau and Jake Kwon contributed reporting.