War in Ukraine Westerners criticize Chinas proposed peace plan

War in Ukraine: Westerners criticize China’s proposed peace plan

While Kyiv felt it was “necessary” to “work” with China, some of its Western partners were wary of Beijing’s proposals for a peace in Ukraine.

A mixed reception, to say the least. The peace plan “for a political solution to the Ukraine crisis” presented by China on Thursday night as a means of resolving the conflict between Kiev and Moscow was coldly received by some of Kiev’s partners.

In this 12-point program, executed to the day a year after the start of the Russian-launched invasion, Beijing specifically proposes respecting “the sovereignty of all countries”, criticizes “the expansion or strengthening of military blocs” and calls for the “end of unilateral sanctions”.

China, which has never explicitly supported or condemned the invasion launched by Vladimir Putin on February 24, also calls for no targeting of civilians or infrastructure and calls for non-recourse to nuclear weapons.

After presenting the plan, Russia said it “appreciated” Chinese efforts, while insisting on the need to recognize Moscow’s claimed Russian annexation of four Ukrainian regions. “We share Beijing’s thinking,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

China ‘must do everything to get Russia out of Ukraine’

Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a measured speech on Friday, saying it was “necessary” to “work” with China to resolve the conflict. “It seems to me that there is [dans ce document] Respect for our territorial integrity, security issues,” Ukraine’s leader told a press conference, saying he wanted to meet Xi Jinping.

“China respects territorial integrity and must do everything possible to get Russia out of Ukraine’s territory,” Zelenskyy added.

Kiev’s western partners were more critical, led by the United States. The Chinese plan “could have stopped at the first point, respect for the sovereignty of all nations,” noted White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

“The war could end tomorrow if Russia stops attacking Ukraine and withdraws its forces,” the US official added on CNN. “Ukraine did not attack Russia, NATO did not attack Russia, the United States did not attack Russia.”

The clearest position is undoubtedly that of Joe Biden, for whom this plan “would benefit no one but Russia.” “If [Vladimir] Putin applauds him, how could he be good?” the US President asked in an interview with ABC News.

This “is not a peace plan”

Beijing “doesn’t have much credibility” over the situation in Ukraine, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who recalled that Beijing “was unable to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine”.

“It also signed an agreement (…) on an unlimited partnership with Russia a few days before the invasion,” the official added.

For his part, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, stated that the Chinese plan is “not a peace plan, but a position in which China reaffirms the positions expressed from the beginning”. But “I don’t want to reject it (…) There are interesting elements about the use of nuclear weapons, about the prisoner exchange,” he added.

“To be a plan, it should be implemented (…) A peace plan is not a list of considerations, it is something that can be applied” and says “how to apply it”. “In my view, in order to be credible, the Chinese should also go to Kiev,” and not only to Moscow, he emphasized.

Russia, whose ties with China have grown closer since the war began, said it “appreciates” Chinese efforts and “shares Beijing’s reasoning.” But she also believes that Kiev “must recognize the new territorial realities,” according to a press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry.