China calls for peace talks, cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine
( NYPost )
On the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has called for a cease-fire between the two sides and for peace talks to commence as part of a 12-point plan to end the war.
China’s Foreign Ministry revealed the plan on Friday, Beijing time, and also called for the end of Western sanctions on Russia, measures to ensure nuclear facilities, humanitarian corridors for civilians to flee the conflict and a process to ensure the continuation of grain exports.
“All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible,” the paper released on China’s Foreign Ministry’s website stated.
In the proposal, China indicated its opposition to the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict, as well as the threat of deploying them.
“Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought. The threat or use of nuclear weapons should be opposed,” the paper said.
China also urged that civilians be protected and for international law to be followed.
“Parties to the conflict should strictly abide by international humanitarian law, avoid attacking civilians or civilian facilities,” it said.
According to the United Nations human rights office, at least 8,000 non-combatants have been confirmed killed in the war in Ukraine and more than 13,000 have been injured.
Russia has also launched attacks against more than 250 Ukrainian hospitals since its Feb. 24, 2022, invasion, leaving nearly one in 10 Ukrainian hospitals damaged, according to a recent analysis by five different non-governmental organizations.
Despite the peace proposal, US officials have not ruled out that China could be preparing to provide lethal military aid to Russia.
Earlier this month, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said at an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, that the US has “growing concern” about the Chinese-Russian partnership.
“My assessment is the PRC [People’s Republic of China] is trying to both increase its standing in the international community by saying that it’s willing to mediate and help bring this horrifying invasion to an end. And at the same time, they are committed to their no-limits partnership with Russia,” Sherman said.
“And we have, certainly, concern and growing concern about that partnership and the PRC’s support for this invasion,” she added.
Chinese state-controlled firms have sold non-lethal drones and other equipment to both Russia and Ukraine since the start of the conflict.
China abstained Thursday when the United Nations General Assembly voted on a nonbinding resolution calling for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw from the former Soviet state.
After releasing the peace plan, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs vowed Friday that the PRC will “continue to play a constructive role” in the resumption of peace talks, but it did not elaborate as to how.
Top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi met on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
The Kremlin said Beijing had presented its views on approaches to a “political settlement” of the conflict.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday he had not seen the Chinese peace plan and wanted to meet with Beijing and discuss any proposal before assessing it.
“I think it is a very good fact in general that China started talking about Ukraine and sent some signals,” Zelensky said.
“We’ll draw some conclusions after we see the specifics of what they offer … We would like to have a meeting with China.”
The entire 12 points of China’s abstract peace proposal are listed below:
Respecting the sovereignty of all countries.
Abandoning the Cold War mentality.
Resuming peace talks.
Resolving the humanitarian crisis.
Protecting civilians and prisoners of war (POWs).
Keeping nuclear power plants safe.
Reducing strategic risks.
Facilitating grain exports.
Stopping unilateral sanctions.
Keeping industrial and supply chains stable.
Promoting post-conflict reconstruction.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to visit Moscow for a summit with Putin in the coming months, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The meeting is expected to be part of China’s push to end the war in Ukraine, according to the report.