The People’s Republic of China has released a 12-point “peace plan” calling for a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine ahead of the war’s one-year anniversary. Claiming that it doesn’t want the crisis to get out of hand, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry has laid out a plan for resolving the conflict and putting an end to the hostilities.
The plan’s first point is to “[respect] the sovereignty of all countries,” calling for the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries” to be “effectively upheld.”
Second, the ministry calls for the abandonment of “the Cold War mentality,” saying “the security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs.”
The third point is to cease hostilities.
“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,” the ministry’s post says.
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“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 de-escalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire,” it continues.
Next, the plan calls for peace talks to be resumed between the warring countries, insisting that “[d]ialoge and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis.”
The following points are to: resolve the humanitarian crisis, protect civilians and POWs, keep nuclear power plants safe, reduce strategic risks, facilitate grain exports, stop unilateral sanctions, keep industrial and supply chains stable, and promote post-conflict reconstruction.
This plan has been met with significant skepticism by Ukraine and the West, taking issue with Beijing’s call for an end to Western sanctions which would likely lead to Ukraine ceding territory and NATO pulling back from its eastern borders. Additionally, the proposed reconstruction efforts would likely benefit Chinese contractors.
Additionally, although China has officially declared neutrality in the conflict, they have a “no-limits” relationship with Russia and has continuously refused to criticize its invasion of Ukraine. Reports have also emerged that China is sending nonlethal aid to Russia and that it is considering sending lethal aid to Russian troops.
China shot back at the U.S. for these accusations, insisting that the U.S. is the one that has chosen sides by “pouring” weapons into the region.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg commented on China’s peace proposal, saying that the communist nation does not have much credibility in the situation to try to become a mediator.
“China doesn’t have much credibility because they have not been able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg, also pointing out that Beijing signed an agreement with Putin just days before the invasion began.
Stoltenberg also addressed the reports of China sending weapons to Russia, saying, “We have not seen actual delivery of lethal aid, but what we have seen are signs and indications that China may be planning and considering the supply of military aid to Russia.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also commented on China’s proposal, suggesting that China had already taken sides in the conflict and that they were unable to be a neutral force in the war.
“You have to see [China’s peace plan] against a specific backdrop, and that is the backdrop that China has already taken sides by signing, for example, an unlimited friendship right before the invasion,” she said.
“So we will look at the principles, of course, but we will look at them against the backdrop that China has taken sides.”
Jorge Toledo, the European Union’s ambassador to China, insisted that China had a “special responsibility” to uphold the goals and values of the United Nations, especially in times of war.
“Whether this is compatible with neutrality, I’m not sure – it depends on what neutrality means,” said Toledo.