China calls for ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, peace talks

BEIJING – China, a staunch Russian ally, has called for a ceasefire between Ukraine and Moscow and the start of peace talks as part of a 12-point proposal to end the conflict.

The plan, issued by the State Department on Friday morning, also calls for an end to Western sanctions imposed on Russia, measures to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities, the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians and measures to ensure grain exports after disruptions led to a rise in food prices around the world .

China has claimed to be neutral in the conflict, but it has a “borderless” relationship with Russia and has refused to criticize or even label its invasion of Ukraine as such, while accusing the West of fueling the conflict to provoke and “flame up the country”. Flames” from supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons.

China and Russia have increasingly geared their foreign policies to countering the US-led liberal international order. Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated the strength of these ties when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow this week.

China has also been accused by the US of possibly making preparations to provide military aid to Russia, which Beijing says lacks evidence.

Given China’s positions, this raises doubts as to whether his 12-point proposal has any chance of succeeding – or whether China will be seen as an honest broker.

Before the proposal was published, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it an important first step.

“I think that the fact that China has started talking about peace in Ukraine is not bad in general. It is important to us that all states are on our side, on the side of justice,” he said at a press conference with the Spanish prime minister on Friday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier Thursday that the US would reserve judgment but that China’s allegiance to Russia means it is not a neutral mediator. “We would see nothing more than a just and lasting peace… but we are skeptical that reports of a proposal like this will be a constructive way forward,” he said.

Price added that the US hopes that “all countries that have a relationship with Russia that is different from ours will use that influence, will use that influence to meaningfully and usefully urge Russia to end this brutal war of aggression.” . (China) has the ability to do this in a way that we just don’t have.”

The peace proposal mainly addressed long-standing Chinese positions and referred, among other things, to the need for “the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries to be effectively guaranteed”.

It also called for an end to the “Cold War mentality” – it is a standard term for what it sees as US hegemony and meddling with other countries.

“The security of one country must not come at the expense of the security of other countries, and regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs,” the proposal says. “The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries should be taken seriously and addressed appropriately.”

China abstained on Thursday when the UN General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution calling on Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces. It is one of 16 countries that either voted against or abstained on almost all of the five previous resolutions on Ukraine.

Written by Ukraine in consultation with its allies, the resolution passed by 141 votes to 7, with 32 abstentions, and sends a strong message on the eve of the first anniversary of the invasion that has left Russia seemingly more isolated than ever.

Although China has not openly criticized Moscow, it has said that the current conflict “is not something it wants to see,” and has repeatedly said that any use of nuclear weapons would be totally unacceptable, in a tacit repudiation of Putin’s statement that Russia would use “all available means” to protect its territory.

“There are no winners in wars of conflict,” the proposal reads.

“All parties should maintain rationality and restraint … support Russia and Ukraine to meet, resume direct dialogue as soon as possible, gradually advance the de-escalation and détente of the situation, and eventually reach a comprehensive ceasefire,” it said.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. China calls for ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, peace talks

Sarah Y. Kim

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