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What does China want with the 12-point peace plan on the war in Ukraine?

In a 12-point plan, China proposes a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine – and the start of peace talks. This was to end the war that had been raging for exactly a year. With the proposal, Beijing wants to underline its claim to neutrality in the conflict.

Direct dialogue and turning away from the Cold War

In the paper, China’s government calls for direct dialogue and a turning away from the Cold War and rejects the use of nuclear weapons.

“All parties should support Russia and Ukraine to work in the same direction and resume direct dialogue as soon as possible” to reach a “peaceful solution,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The Document entitled “China’s Position on a Political Solution to the Ukraine Crisis” was also published in English on the ministry’s website on Friday morning – on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

The proposal in full: This is China’s 12-point plan

China’s position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis

2023-02-24 09:00

1. Respect for the sovereignty of all countries. Generally accepted international law, including the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, must be strictly observed. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively safeguarded. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All parties should work together to uphold the basic norms of international relations and promote international fairness and justice. The equal and uniform application of international law must be promoted, while double standards must be rejected. _

2. Moving away from the Cold War mentality. One country’s security should not be pursued at the expense of other countries. A region’s security should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and given due consideration. There is no simple solution to a complex problem. All parties should contribute to creating a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture in line with the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and with a view to long-term peace and stability in the world. All parties should resist the pursuit of their own security at the expense of the security of others, avoid bloc confrontation, and work together for peace and stability on the Eurasian continent.

3. Cessation of hostilities. Conflicts and wars do not benefit anyone. All parties must remain rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and heightening tensions, and prevent the crisis from worsening or spiraling out of control. All parties should support Russia and Ukraine to work in the same direction and resume direct dialogue as soon as possible in order to gradually de-escalate the situation and finally achieve a comprehensive ceasefire. _

4. Resumption of peace talks. Dialogue and negotiations are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis. All efforts that contribute to a peaceful resolution of the crisis must be encouraged and supported. The international community should continue to advocate for the right approach to promoting peace talks, helping the parties to the conflict to open the door to a political solution as soon as possible, and creating conditions and platforms for negotiations to resume. China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard. _

5. Settlement of the humanitarian crisis. All measures that help alleviate the humanitarian crisis must be encouraged and supported. Humanitarian action should follow the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and humanitarian issues should not be politicized. The security of civilians must be effectively protected and humanitarian corridors should be established for the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones. Efforts must be made to increase humanitarian aid in the affected areas, improve humanitarian conditions and ensure rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid in order to prevent a major humanitarian crisis. The United Nations should be assisted in coordinating humanitarian aid to the conflict zones.

6. Protection of civilians and prisoners of war (POWs). Parties to the conflict should strictly abide by international humanitarian law, avoid attacks on civilians or civilian facilities, protect women, children and other victims of the conflict, and respect the fundamental rights of prisoners of war. China supports the exchange of prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine and calls on all parties to create more favorable conditions for this purpose.

7. Safety of nuclear power plants. China opposes armed attacks on nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities and calls on all parties to comply with international law, including the Convention on Nuclear Safety, and to resolutely avoid man-made nuclear accidents. China supports the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in playing a constructive role in promoting the security of peaceful nuclear facilities.

8. Reduction of strategic risks. Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be waged. The threat or use of nuclear weapons should be rejected. The proliferation of nuclear weapons must be prevented and a nuclear crisis avoided. China opposes the research, development and use of chemical and biological weapons by any country under any circumstances.

9. Facilitation of grain exports. All parties must fully and effectively implement the Black Sea Grains Initiative signed by Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations in a balanced manner, and support the United Nations to play an important role in this regard. China’s proposed Global Food Security Cooperation Initiative offers a viable solution to the global food crisis.

10. Termination of Unilateral Sanctions. Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the problem; they only create new problems. China rejects unilateral sanctions not approved by the UN Security Council. The countries concerned should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and “widespread jurisdiction” against other countries in order to do their part to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis and create the conditions for developing countries to expand their economies and improve the living conditions of their people .

11. Maintaining industrial and supply chains. All parties should work seriously to preserve the existing world economic system and resist using the world economy as a tool or weapon for political purposes. A concerted effort is needed to mitigate the impact of the crisis and prevent it from disrupting international cooperation on energy, finance, food trade and transport and undermining global economic recovery.

12. Promotion of post-conflict reconstruction. The international community must take action to support post-conflict reconstruction in conflict-affected areas. China stands ready to provide assistance and play a constructive role in this.

What does China want to achieve?

China has been trying to play a mediating role in the Ukraine conflict for several weeks and has promised for days to publish its position with a view to a political solution.

In the document unveiled on Friday, Beijing takes a clear stance against any use of nuclear weapons, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeated the threat.

“Nuclear weapons may not be used and no nuclear war may be waged. The threat or use of nuclear weapons must be opposed,” it says Document.

China also calls on both countries to avoid attacks on civilians.

“The parties (to the conflict) must strictly comply with international humanitarian law and avoid attacks on civilians or civilian buildings,” the ministry said.

Speaking on CNN, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan responded to the announcement by saying the document “could have stopped at the first point, respect for the sovereignty of all nations.”

“The war could end tomorrow if Russia stops attacking Ukraine and withdraws its forces,” he added. “Ukraine didn’t attack Russia, NATO didn’t attack Russia, the US didn’t attack Russia.”

On Tuesday, China expressed “very concern” about the conflict, which “is escalating and even getting out of control”.

Officially neutral China is calling for respect for the sovereignty of states, including Ukraine, while urging the international community to heed Moscow’s security concerns.

But Western pressure is mounting on Beijing, which has never publicly endorsed or criticized the Russian offensive but has repeatedly expressed support for Moscow in the face of Western sanctions.

How neutral is China really?

With the 12-point plan, Beijing wants to underline its claim to neutrality in the conflict.

China, while claiming a neutral stance, has also declared that it has a “borderless” relationship with Russia. Beijing has refused to criticize the war in Ukraine or label the invasion as such.

It has accused the West of provoking the conflict and “stoking the flames” by supplying arms to Ukraine. The US also understands that China may be preparing to provide military aid to Russia, of which Beijing says there is no evidence.

Given China’s positions, there are doubts as to whether the proposal even has a chance – and whether China can be considered an honest mediator.

China and Russia have increasingly aligned their foreign policies against the US-led liberal international order. Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China’s strength.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that the US would reserve judgment on the proposal, but that China’s ties to Russia meant it was not a neutral mediator. “We desire nothing more than a just and lasting peace…but we are skeptical that reports of a proposal like this represent a constructive way forward,” he said.

Price added the US hopes that “all countries that have a relationship with Russia unlike ours will use that leverage to meaningfully and usefully urge Russia to end this brutal war of aggression. (China) is.” able to do that in a way we are not.”

Reaction from Kiev to China’s peace plan: “Important first step”

Before the proposal was published, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called involving China an important first step.

“I think that the fact that China has started talking about peace in Ukraine is not bad in general. It is important for us that all states are on our side, on the side of justice,” he said he on Thursday at a press conference with the Spanish Prime Minister.

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