Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

China’s Ukraine plan mixes peace and self-interest


BEIJING — Chinese leader Xi Jinping faces steep hurdles if he is serious about helping end the 14-month-old war.

The most important: Neither Ukraine nor Russia are ready to stop the fighting.

Xi’s plan to send an envoy to Ukraine allows his government to deflect criticism from its support for Moscow and pursue a bigger role as a diplomatic force. His announcement on Wednesday during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sparked optimism that Beijing could use its warm relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to push for peace. This was followed by skeptical questions about whether Beijing is more focused on ending an invasion it refuses to criticize or on its own interests.

China’s starting point is a peace proposal released in February that called for a ceasefire, negotiations and an end to sanctions against Russia. It offered few details, but repeated Russian accusations that Western governments were responsible for the invasion.

China has good reason to want to see an end to the war. It rattled the Chinese economy by pushing up the prices of oil, wheat and other commodities. Beijing also warned on Wednesday of the dangers of nuclear war, after Russia earlier announced it would move atomic weapons to neighboring Belarus.

“China’s self-interest aligns with ending the war,” said John Delury, an international relations scholar at Yonsei University in Seoul.

“Beijing has no interest in seeing Russia humiliated, nor is it in China’s interest for Russia to triumph,” Delury said. “The best option is a ceasefire and, with it, economic opportunities to participate in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.”

Wednesday’s statement gave no indication of how China might recommend addressing issues the two countries are fighting over, including Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula seized by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014.


By playing the role of peacemaker, Beijing could also seek to separate European allies from the United States, which Xi accuses of trying to block China’s economic and political rise.

Beijing is trying to restore relations with Europe after an outcry over a Chinese ambassador’s comment that former Soviet republics may not be sovereign countries. This group includes Ukraine and European Union members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to Beijing and appealed for help to Ukraine, pointing to Washington’s difficulties in rallying allies to oppose China’s assertive policies to the stranger.

“Trying to drive a wedge between American and European partners is an important goal,” said Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “For this, China must claim to be an active force for peace.”

Xi’s call with Zelenskyy could bolster European hopes that China can be persuaded ‘to exert its influence to help end the war’, but is ‘unlikely to change Western assessment of position of Beijing as a stance of ‘pro-Russian neutrality,’” Eurasia Group said. analysts in a report.


The announcement gives Beijing a chance to show it doesn’t always agree with Moscow, though the differences may be too subtle for Western critics. They complain that China is helping Putin resist Western sanctions by buying Russian oil and gas and giving him political support.

Xi’s government sees the Kremlin as a partner in opposing US dominance in global affairs. China has used its status as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to block efforts to censor Russia.

Xi and Putin said in a joint statement ahead of the February 2022 invasion that their governments have “boundless friendship”. Their marines held joint exercises with Iran in March.

Despite this, the Chinese government claims to have a “no-alliance” relationship. Beijing has promised not to supply armaments to either side in Ukraine’s war.

“China has never taken sides,” said Da Wei, an international relations scholar at Beijing’s Tsinghua University and director of its Center for Strategic and Security Studies.

“Which Western leader maintained communication with the leaders of both parties directly involved in the crisis? said Da. “I think this call is an indication of China’s fair and impartial goal in promoting peace talks.”

A Chinese statement on Wednesday also cited “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity” as the foundation of relations with Ukraine.

As Russia attempts to shift borders by annexing parts of Ukraine, Beijing is extremely sensitive to respecting territorial sovereignty. He says that borders must be respected and that no country has the right to meddle in the affairs of others.


Positioning itself as a mediator also helps Beijing play a bigger role in managing global affairs as part of efforts to restore China to what the Communist Party sees as its rightful place as a political, economic and political leader. cultural.

Beijing should “actively participate in the reform and construction of the global governance system” and promote “global security initiatives”, Xi said in March. A proposed “Global Security Initiative” released in February said China was “ready to carry out bilateral and multilateral security cooperation with all countries.”

Also in March, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced the end of a 7-year diplomatic split following talks hosted by China. This year, Xi’s government has also offered to mediate Israeli-Palestinian talks, establish a new security structure in the Middle East and help African countries resolve disputes.

If Beijing can organize peace talks, “it supports Xi Jinping’s ambitions to be a world power,” Delury said.

China’s diplomatic ambition is a reversal of decades of staying away from other countries’ disputes and most international affairs to focus on economic development.

Its peacemaking initiatives are also at odds with China’s confrontational behavior towards its neighbors in territorial disputes and threats to attack Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy claimed by Beijing as part of its territory.


Zelenskyy’s government said in a statement that its conversation with Xi could lead to “a possible interaction with the aim of establishing a just and lasting peace for Ukraine.” Zelenskyy said on March 29 that he had invited Xi to visit, but no government has indicated whether that might happen.

Despite this, political analysts see little chance of progress. It is believed that Ukraine is preparing a new offensive to retake the territory occupied by Russia.

A resolution is “maybe years or even decades away, as the Russian and Ukrainian positions are still miles apart,” Gabuev said.

Shi Yinhong, an international relations specialist at Renmin University in Beijing, noted that the Russian Foreign Ministry said peace talks were “almost impossible”, while Zelenskyy stressed to Xi the importance of recovering all captured territories.

“None of the warring parties materially echoed China’s initiative, which fell far short of what it was looking for,” Shi said.

Joe McDonald has reported from China for The Associated Press since 1997.

AP researcher Wanqing Chen in Beijing and AP writer Andrew Katell contributed.

If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – at itipspedia@gmail.com The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply