Amidst speculation about the possibility of China providing military assistance to Russia, Beijing has called for a cease-fire between Ukraine and Moscow and proposed the opening of peace talks in a 12-point proposal to put an end to the year-long fighting.
The proposal issued Friday morning by China’s Foreign Ministry said dialogue is the only way to resolve the crisis and added that China is willing to play a constructive role in this regard.
“There are no winners in conflict wars,” it said. “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 deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire.”
The proposal reiterated long-held positions of China, including that all countries’ “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” be guaranteed.
It said, “Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought,” and also called for the “abandonment of Cold War mentality.”
“The security of a country should not be pursued at the expense of others. The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs,” it said, “The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries should be taken seriously and properly addressed.”
The proposal also urges the end of Western sanctions imposed on Russia and to keep nuclear facilities safe, establish humanitarian corridors for civilians and ensure the export of grain after disruptions inflated global food prices.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had called the involvement of China towards peace an important step, before the proposal was released.
“I think that, in general, the fact that China started talking about peace in Ukraine, I think that it is not bad. It is important for us that all states are on our side, on the side of justice,” he said on Thursday.
China has not been openly critical of Russia, but has repeatedly voiced against any use of nuclear weapons.
China abstained Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly approved a nonbinding resolution that calls for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces. It is one of 16 countries that either voted against or abstained on almost all of five previous resolutions on Ukraine.
The resolution, drafted by Ukraine, passed 141-7 with 32 abstentions.