China’s Peace Plan for Ukraine
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 27 Feb , 2023

China’s 12-point peace plan for Ukraine outlines the following: one, respect the sovereignty of all countries; two, abandon Cold War mentality; three, – cease hostilities; four, resume peace talks; five, resolve the humanitarian crisis; six, protect civilians and prisoners of war, seven, keep nuclear power plants safe; eight, reduce strategic risks; nine, facilitate grain exports; ten, stop unilateral sanctions; eleven, keep industrial and supply chains stable, and; twelve, promote post-conflict reconstruction.

Released on the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, the above position paper also states the following, “All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control. All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire. The security of a country should not be pursued at the expense of others. The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly.”

China has promised to play a constructive role in peace negotiations. The steps outlined by China are in as simple a language as could be. If American puppet, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has welcomed China’s position paper, it has nothing to do with the steps outlined but to gain an audience with Chinese President Xi Jinping which he has sought since long. Zelenskyy wants to plead Washington’s case personally with Xi for China not to provide military assistance to Russia – Washington’s aim being to sought out Russia as best it can and later deal with China similarly.

The US-NATO and the EU would not agree to most of the steps recommended by China. It is well established that the war in Ukraine was planned by the US decades ago; posing an existential threat to the sovereignty of Russia by expanding NATO and deploying NATO weaponry on the borders of Russia – complete about turn to the promises made to President Mikhail  Gorbachev at the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union. In addition, America’s Joe Biden administration wanted to find employment for NATO after America’s shameful rout from Afghanistan.   

Over the past several decades, the US has blatantly demonstrated itself as a war-mongering nation and this is precisely what it is doing using Ukraine as a proxy to fight Russia, It even had no compunctions about sabotaging Russia’s Nord Stream at the expense of the economies of European nations. Calling it a Ukraine-Russia war is misnomer since it actually is a US-led NATO war against Russia, which the US wants to continue endlessly. That is why Joe Biden is opposing the role of China as mediator in resolving the war in Ukraine. In a recent interview with ABC News, Biden said, “The idea that China will negotiate the results of a war that is absolutely unfair for Ukraine is simply not rational.”

However, despite America’s widespread propaganda and Biden’s gung-ho theatrics, the US has been forced to review its arms stockpiles with Washington already having supplied $29 billion in arms and defence spending to Ukraine since the conflict began in February 2022. The US also appears to be shooting itself in the foot with its self-proclaimed proclivity as the global policeman – telling China not to militarily support Russia while the entire West is supplying arms, mercenaries and funds to Ukraine. 

On February 19, 2023, CBS News showed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accusing China by saying that Chinese companies have already been supplying Russia with non-lethal aid and may soon do more. Blinken said “The concern that we have now is, based on information we have, that they’re considering providing lethal support, and we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship.”

The above drew a furious response from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin, who said, “It is the U.S. not China that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield. The US is in no position to tell China what to do. We would never stand for finger-pointing or even coercion and pressurizing from the US on our relations with Russia.” Wang took another shot at the US by saying it’s the US that is promoting conflict by arming Ukraine.

At the recent Munich Security Conference, Wang Yi, head of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, asked Josep Borrell, EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy during an informal conversation why China should not supply weapons to Russia if the EU supplies them to Ukraine? Borrell’s sheepish explanation at a later press conference was that Russia poses a threat to the EU (sic). 

Climbing the stairs to board his plane at Warsaw for the return trip after his recent visit, Joe Biden stumbled and fell at the top of the stairs – something that also happened two years ago. That may or may not be a signal of the events to come but certainly Chinese military support to Russia will add a new dimension to the US-led NATO war against Russia using Ukraine as proxy. If the US still wants to up the ante, it would be at its own peril. As of now, Biden has reportedly not agreed to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine but what rash decisions he would take in run up to the US presidential elections next year is anybody’s guess. Hopefully, the nuclear dimension would evade the otherwise likely escalation.    

Wang Yi has held discussions in Moscow. Russian President has hailed China as a key ally, emphasizing that China-Russia cooperation in the global arena is “particularly important for stabilizing the international situation”. After meeting Wang Yi at the Kremlin, Putin said on February 22, 2023 that China has agreed to a meeting in Moscow between him and Xi Jinping. Putin said, “We await a visit of the President of the People’s Republic of China to Russia, we have agreed on this. Everything is progressing, developing. We are reaching new frontiers.”

According to the US media, the Putin-Xi meeting in Moscow could be as early as April 2023. Naturally, it would have direct fallout on the war in Ukraine. The proposals for ceasefire in Ukraine by Elon Musk with compromise on both sides were trashed. Now Biden has ruled out Chinese mediation for ceasefire in Ukraine. But it would be interesting to see if the US will fuel the war further before the Putin-Xi meet or prefer to wait till the outcome of the meeting is known.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army.

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