Russia-Ukraine War and China’s Diplomatic Efforts By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan

THE People’s Republic of China has been doing a great job to end ongoing Russia-Ukraine war through peaceful diplomatic efforts since its beginning.

China is one of the most important actors, if not the most important actor, in the developments in Russia-Ukraine War.

Its role is of great significance on military, economic and diplomatic aspects of the ongoing war which has not yet been settled but scattered into different parts of Ukraine.

The ongoing war has badly deteriorated human security which has now entered into sphere of currency battle too.

Tussle among Dollar, Rubles and Yuan are trying to form a new global financial order which may not be good for economic recovery in short and medium terms.

Although, Chinese government under the leadership of Xi Jinping proposed many doable plans to deescalate tension between Russia and Ukraine but global movers and shakers have their own “vested” and “vicious” interests.

The US and the West have already announced to impose a series of tight economic sanctions against Russia.

Even its representatives at the UN have also been under sanctions. In this regard, China can help Russia to minimize the strong impact of economic sanctions.

That is why right from the beginning of this crisis, Chinese government strongly condemned imposition of unilateral sanctions against Russia.

The war has come at the time of the real US and the West-China Rivalry. China has identified Russia as a strong ally with the limitless friendship statement during the recently held winter Olympics.

China can broker a diplomatic deal between Russia from one side and Ukraine and the West on the other side because both are vital members of its mega project of One Belt & One Road Initiative (BRI).

Thus Chinese BRI would be a “benchmark” for political settlement between two conflicting parties i.e. Russia and Ukraine.

Most recently, USA has dispatched numerous arms and logistic support to many neighbouring countries in the Black Sea region which has further spiralled tension in the region.

Turkish diplomatic efforts are still active which may produce some kind of truce in the days to come.

But role of China is supreme in this regard. In this connection, on 18 March, Chinese President Xi Jinping had a video call with US President Joe Biden at the request of the latter.

The two heads of state had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on China-US relations, the situation in Ukraine and other issues of mutual interest.

At the special moment when the Ukraine crisis affects the entire international landscape, the two heads of state of China and the US, two influential global powers, had a constructive interaction.

The US wanted China to be part of a comprehensive web of sanctions against Russia. But China did not have obligation to cooperate with the US, and it did not agree with such rough means of unilateral sanctions at all.

The Chinese leadership urged that the US must respect China’s different positions.

The Chinese side will never accept the US coercion, nor will it allow the US to use the Ukraine issue to harm China’s legitimate interests.

The Chinese side made this point very clearly. Moreover, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been holding a series of talks with state leaders, including Vladimir Putin, since the start of Russia-Ukraine war.

In this context, Chinese President Xi spoke with at least eight world leaders in the month since the start of crisis, stressing Beijing’s preference for dialogue over war and systematic efforts over unilateral sanctions.

He has encouraged Russia to move toward negotiations, offered to work with France and Germany to promote talks and told President Joe Biden that China “stands for peace.

” China supports all parties to uphold the concept of indivisibility of security,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang said.

While China’s top U.S. envoy has claimed Beijing’s tight ties to Russia and Ukraine were an “asset” in peace talks.

Other potential arbiters of talks, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Germany’s Olaf Scholz and Israel’s Naftali Bennett, have spoken to presidents on both sides of the war.

“China only advised Russia to try to end the conflict in a dignified manner to avoid any further collateral damage.

Chinese ambassador to Ukraine reassured local officials that China was a “friendly country” that would “never attack Ukraine.

” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Ukrainian counterpart on March 1 that Beijing was “highly concerned” by the war, in what remains the most senior diplomatic exchange between the two countries.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has separately said that China would carry out mediation “when needed” and outlined a six-point plan to provide humanitarian relief.

Yet, a Foreign Ministry pledge last week of $1.6 million in aid, including food, baby formula, sleeping bags, quilts and damp-proof mats, was poorly received in Ukraine.

It seems that China stands on the right side of history over the Ukraine crisis as time will tell, and its position is in line with the wishes of most countries, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

Moreover, China will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and opposes any unfounded accusations and suspicions against China,” Wang added.

Wang’s comments came after US President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, “consequences” if Beijing gave material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

During the video call, Xi told Biden the war in Ukraine must end as soon as possible and called on NATO nations to hold a dialogue with Moscow.

Wang said the most important message Xi sent was that China has always been a force for maintaining world peace.

“We have always stood for maintaining peace and opposing war,” Wang said, reiterating that China will make independent judgments.

To conclude, Chinese President’s holistic policies of Global Development Initiative (GDI), Common/shared prosperity philosophy and last but not the least Global Economic Sustainability (GES) would play an important role in the ongoing Russia and Ukraine war.

China stressed the need to “reconcile” and “recognize” unavoidable security concerns of Russia about the continued Eastern expansion of the NATO creating energy & food security for Russia.

Moreover, the US and the Western perpetual proxies’ obsession will not achieve any success but will further divide the world.

Thus sanity must prevail. Alleged killings in Bucha again geared unstoppable waves of fake, false and fictional propaganda of the West which apparently is not a good omen for regional peace.

Obviously, such evidence would not be admissible in court. However, all the conflicting parties should not indulge in creating “alternative reality” on the expense of simple and pure humanity.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry, President Xi Jinping could soon speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since the start of war between Russia and Ukraine which vividly reflected Chinese constant diplomatic efforts to achieve cease-fire.

—The writer is Director, the Centre for South Asia & International Studies Islamabad & regional expert, China, CPEC & BRI.​

Source: Published in Pak Observer

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