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Why China’s position paper on Ukraine crisis annoyed some countries?

China's stance is in line with the universal expectations of peace-loving people around the world

5 mins read
People walk past a damaged building in Mariupol, Feb. 18, 2023. (Photo by Victor/Xinhua)

To push forward the political settlement of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released last month a paper stating Beijing’s position on the issue.

In the paper, China put forward a 12-point proposal to end the conflict in Ukraine by addressing both the symptoms and the root causes of the crisis, and reiterated the necessity to end the conflict through dialogue and negotiation.

The peace proposal, since being offered, has been welcomed by many countries of the international community. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, hailed the position paper as “an important contribution.”

Yet some Western politicians turned a cold shoulder to the proposal, accusing China of being biased and dismissed the contents of the document as nothing new.

These claims have been refuted by experts and scholars in many countries, who believe the proposal demonstrated China’s commitment to objectivity and fairness as well as its role as a responsible major country in times of grave global challenges.

They argued that in the ever worsening conflict, it is the United States and its NATO allies that cling to the Cold War mentality and have kept on fueling the crisis for their own benefits.

CHINA’S UKRAINE PEACE PROPOSAL IMPARTIAL AND VIABLE

Ali El-Hefny, secretary general of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, also a former Egyptian ambassador to China, said the Chinese paper reflects a policy and a clear vision on international relations that China has always adopted.

It’s a respectful and responsible position of a country with a big presence in the international arena, whether economically or politically, he said.

The paper is built on the necessity of giving up everything provocative, avoiding imposing sanctions and stopping providing Ukraine with all types of arms, which would in the end expand and prolong the war, the secretary general said.

Saeb Rawashdeh, a political analyst at the Jordan Press Foundation, said that on the first anniversary of the escalation of the crisis, China released the document expounding its position on the issue, hoping to promote an early resolution of the crisis through peaceful dialogue.

China’s stance is in line with the universal expectations of peace-loving people around the world, he said.

Some Western countries have consistently failed to play a constructive role in easing the tensions of the Ukraine crisis. Instead, they have continuously imposed sanctions on Russia while arming Ukraine, fueling the crisis, Rawashdeh said.

The motive is to weaken Russia and Ukraine and to benefit from the conflict. This is a typical Cold War mentality, and the real victims are the people of the two countries, who have suffered from the trauma of the crisis, he said.

The high inflation and food shortages resulting from the Ukraine conflict continue to bite. The world will become more turbulent and unstable if the West keeps instigating, he added.

Richard Grenell, former U.S. ambassador to Germany, noted in an article on news website California Globe that China offered “a conceivable starting point” to end the conflict whereas “veteran State Department employees were furious that a year has gone by without a U.S. plan for a peaceful solution.”

The White House is thinking “morning, noon, and night” about how to give Ukraine more military aid, he wrote.

To date, the United States has provided many rounds of aid to Ukraine and allied nations, totaling some 113 billion U.S. dollars. Washington and its allies have already committed nearly 700 tanks and thousands of armored vehicles and 1,000 artillery systems, among other aid to Ukraine.

Xulio Rios, director of the Observatory of Chinese Politics in Spain, said it seems that Western countries are more interested in maintaining the conflict than pushing for a ceasefire and opening negotiations for a political solution.

Meanwhile, China’s approach allows the world to see a viable solution and that will be supported by countries valuing common good for the whole world, he added.

WESTERN HEGEMONIC SCHEME KNOWN TO ALL

For many observers, the reasons why politicians in some Western countries felt displeased with China’s peace proposal are quite obvious.

Lewis Ndichu, a researcher at Nairobi-based think tank Africa Policy Institute, said The West has been used to realizing “peace” through intervening by providing warfare equipment, intelligence and sending air combat forces, all these will lead to a devastating arms race.

Seeing China playing an increasingly greater role on the world stage, the West is not happy, said Ndichu.

Ang Teck Sin, a political commentator in Singapore, told Xinhua that both Russia and Ukraine suffered heavy casualties and economic losses, but Uncle Sam, who pursues hegemonism and power politics, has seen a rare opportunity to continue to lead NATO and further intensify bloc confrontation.

Washington is actually expanding business for the military-industrial complex, he said. The more volatile the world is and the larger the market will be, and the more resources the military-industrial complex will get to develop more sophisticated weapons, thus creating more conflicts, he noted.

This is a terrible vicious circle. Unfortunately, it is the world that pays for America’s ambitions, the commentator said.

When the United States and its allies are arming Ukraine to the teeth, it is countries like China that have to come forward to remind all as to what is at stake, said Rabia Akhtar, director of the Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research at the University of Lahore in Pakistan.

Filipe Porto, a researcher at the Brazilian Foreign Policy Observatory, said the attitude of the United States toward China on the Ukrainian issue is self-contradictory. On the one hand, the United States and its allies question and attack China’s relations with Russia, on the other they ask China to use that relationship to play the role they expect in the crisis.

Slovenian sociologist Tomaz Mastnak said the Russia-Ukraine conflict had been provoked, instigated and prolonged by the United States. At least in the short term, the United States is the only country that has benefited from this conflict.

The impact of the conflict on Europe is disastrous. The European economy is being dealt a heavy blow to, and first and foremost, Germany, the European economic engine, is facing “deindustrialization,” Mastnak said.

In his opinion, this situation in Europe is not collateral damage caused by conflict, but one of the goals of the conflict provoked by the United States. It is going to make Europe economically insignificant.

CHINA’S POSITION WIDELY ACCLAIMED

As the world is facing such a prolonged conflict as well as overlapping food and energy crises, China’s proposal, which insists on promoting peace talks, has been widely applauded.

China’s recent initiative to solve the Ukraine crisis politically is very timely and quite helpful, and it is completely in accordance with the UN rules, said Mohammad Reza Manafi, editor-in-chief for the Asia-Pacific news desk of Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

Bambang Suryono, chairman of the Indonesian think tank Asian Innovation Research Center, said the position paper is constructive, necessary and timely.

British political commentator Carlos Martinez said China’s position paper is a powerful contribution to the project of building peace in Europe. While not taking sides, it highlights the crucial elements required for the Ukraine crisis to be brought to a conclusion.

The position paper is closely related to The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper released by China on Feb. 21, as both papers are firmly grounded in international law and the principles of the UN Charter. Both reflect a profound desire for peace and global prosperity; for a community with a shared future for mankind, he said.

Both papers reflect a clear understanding that peace and prosperity require a reorientation of international relations toward multilateralism, cooperation, non-interference, respect for sovereignty and respect for diversity; that hegemonism and Cold War mentality are driving humanity toward a very dangerous future, Martinez emphasized.

Christine Bierre, editor-in-chief of French newspaper New Solidarity, said China’s Global Security Initiative allows people to get to the root causes of the great turmoil and conflicts in the world.

China’s Global Security Initiative and its position paper can have a very positive role in the Ukrainian conflict, he added.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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