China presented in the last hours a 12-point plan to reach a “peaceful solution” in Ukraineone year after the start of the Russian invasion, but both the United States, the European Union (EU) and NATO described it as “insufficient” and criticized the closeness of the Asian giant with the Kremlin.
The initiative announced late this Thursday (this morning according to Beijing time) demands “respect for sovereignty” and maintaining “territorial integrity” of all countries, two claims raised by Ukraine, as well as ” abandon the Cold War mentality”, “take legitimate security concerns seriously” and “stop unilateral sanctions”, complaints mentioned above by Russia.
He Chinese Foreign Ministry text also urges a ceasefire and a call for “moderation” to “prevent the situation from getting out of control”, and makes explicit the need to start peace talks, given that “dialogue and negotiation are the only viable way out to resolve the crisis”.
The proposal also emphasizes “resolve the humanitarian crisis” generated by the waras well as “protect” the civilian population and prisoners of war and “promote reconstruction” in conflict zones.
Finally, the plan calls for “keeping nuclear power plants safe”, mainly in view of the risks due to Russian control of the Zaporizhia plant, the largest in Europe, and “facilitating the export of cereals” in the face of the food crisis that generated the war between two of the main exporting countries of cereals and fertilizers.
Responses to China’s plan
He NATO chief Jens Stoltenbergshowed his skepticism this Friday regarding China’s plan, stating that Beijing “does not have much credibility” in that conflict.
“China does not have much credibility because it has not been able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine. And also, days before the invasion, he signed an agreement (…) of unlimited association with Russia,” he told reporters from the Estonian capital, Tallinn.
in tune, the EU pointed out that the Chinese proposal is “selective” and is “insufficient”since “it does not take into account who is the aggressor and who is the victim” in the war in Ukraine.
In a press conference from Brussels, the bloc’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Nabila Massrali, indicated that the initiative emphasizes some points of the United Nations charter, but it is “selective” and “insufficient.”
“It does not take into account who is the aggressor and who is the victim of an illegal war of aggression”Nabila Massrali
In his opinion, it includes Russia’s security concerns, with which Moscow justifies its military attack on Ukraine, and blurs the line between the aggressor and the victim.
“It does not take into account who is the aggressor and who is the victim of an illegal war of aggression,” Massrali said, stressing that any proposal must take into account Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as Ukraine’s right of defense.
Also speaking from Estonia, where he participated in the country’s independence acts coinciding with the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, expressed that the document supposes a series of “principles”, more than a peace plan, which must be studied but being aware of the closeness of Beijing with Russia, also in the context of war.
“You have to see them against the specific background that China has taken a position by signing an unlimited friendship agreement with Russia just before the invasion,” stressed the head of the European Executive.
That same argument was used by US authorities to criticize Beijing’s proposal.
He White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivanindicated that Washington is watching “closely” the movements of the Asian giant, which, according to what he said, could be preparing to “deliver lethal weapons to Russia.”
For his part, he German President Frank Walter SteinmeierHe also expressed “doubts” about the “constructive role” that China can play for peace in Ukraine.
“Any constructive proposal that brings us closer to a just peace is welcome. It remains doubtful that China, a world power, wants to play such a constructive role,” he told a ceremony in Berlin marking the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.
“If so, then China should talk not only with Russia but also with Ukraine. In that case, China should join the overwhelming majority of states and commit to peace under the auspices of the UN,” the German president added. quoted by the AFP news agency.
China tried to position itself as a neutral party in this conflict (This Thursday he refrained from demanding the “immediate withdrawal” of Russian troops in the vote that took place in the UN General Assembly), although he maintains his ties with his strategic ally in Moscow.
The head of his diplomacy, Wang Yi, met last week in Berlin with his American counterpart, Antony Blinken, and then traveled to the Russian capital for talks with President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
In a summary of the meeting published by the state news agency Xinhua, Wang said that China wanted to “deepen political trust” and “strengthen its strategic coordination” with Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that he had not seen China’s peace plan and wanted to meet with Beijing representatives to discuss the proposal before offering his point of view.
“I think it is a very positive development in general that China is starting to talk about Ukraine and send signals,” Zelensky said.