By rejecting China’s peace plan West pushes Beijing closer to Russia
Now, the Chinese government is absolutely certain that its Western adversaries want war, not peace and diplomacy.
Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.
On the first anniversary of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, China presented a peace plan, aimed at re-establishing diplomacy and bilateral negotiations. Consisting of twelve points, the proposal reflects the stance of neutrality of the Chinese government, which has refused to support anti-Russian resolutions at the UN, maintaining a strong direct dialogue with Moscow which allows it to develop more realistic proposals, unlike the Western unilateral demands of Russia’s retreat. However, the West does not seem interested in peace, havingimmediately rejected Beijing’s project.
Beijing calls for an end to hostilities and for the two parties to return to peace talks immediately. Defense of civilians and prisoners of war (POWs) is also a central topic of the project, as well as the safety and stability of the nuclear power plants. In addition, Beijing also advocates the banning of all unilateral sanctions, thus enabling the resumption of economic cooperation and the possibility of a rapid reconstruction of the zones affected by the conflict.
The points of the proposal are: 1. Respecting the sovereignty of all countries; 2. Abandon the Cold War mentality; 3. Ceasing hostilities; 4. Resuming peace talks; 5. Resolving the humanitarian crisis; 6. Protecting civilians and prisoners of war (POWs); 7. Keeping nuclear power plants safe; 8. Reducing strategic risks; 9. Facilitating grain exports; 10. Stopping unilateral sanctions; 11. Keeping industrial and supply chains stable; 12. Promoting post-conflict reconstruction.
As we can see, China proposes a broad diplomatic platform, indicating essential topics for achieving any peaceful solution to the conflict. It is not possible to point out any biased aspect to either side during the analysis of the proposal. These are points that, despite the proximity between Russia and China, reveal a true position of neutrality, seeking to meet, as much as possible, the interests of both sides.
However, as expected, the plan did not please Western governments, which rejected the measure without even establishing forums for prior discussion. According to several Western politicians and experts, the Chinese objective was simply to propose a “pro-Russian peace”, ignoring Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
For example, according to Clayton Allen and Anna Ashton, analysts linked to the Eurasia Group, a consulting agency and think tank that advises several Western governments, the Chinese twelve points are biased in favor of Moscow and echo the “Russian justifications for the invasion”.
“Although several of the 12 points revealed Chinese concerns over actions primarily associated with Russia, it continued to echo Russia’s justifications for invasion and can largely be framed by Russia as supporting Moscow’s positions (…) China’s approach suggests that they are walking a diplomatic tightrope of strengthening ties to Russia – a key geostrategic ally and counterbalance to the West – while avoiding a position that is seen as openly hostile to Western aims”, they said.
This assessment seems extremely exaggerated. Proposing peace means seeking the best solution for both sides, but obviously also involves meeting the interests of the winning side, which, in this case, is the Russian one. The fact that Moscow seems to “benefit” from this plan is due to the evident reality that Russian troops have an advantage on the battlefield and it would be absolutely unrealistic to think of “peace” seeking to fulfill the Ukrainian objective of withdrawing Russian forces from the liberated regions. What Ukraine and the West understand by “peace” is the recapture of Russian territories, including Crimea, which obviously will not be accepted.
However, worse than that, NATO members and allies not only refused to consider the proposals but began to spread rumors about a possible Chinese intention to send weapons to Russia. According to the Western narrative, the Chinese peace project was a mere excuse to advance cooperation with Moscow and boost bilateral military relations, with plans to supply Russia with weapons in case of rejection of the proposal.
Beijing has denied the allegations, calling them “disinformation”, but at the same time Chinese officials seem aware of the danger caused by Western bellicoseness. In a recent statement, Mao Ning, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, informed that the Chinese attitude towards Ukraine is completely peaceful, but recalled that while supplying the Kiev regime with weapons, Washington also acts in a destabilizing way in Taiwan, thus posing a security risk to both Russia and China.
“On the Ukraine issue, China has been actively promoting peace talks and the political settlement of the crisis (…) [However] In addition to pouring lethal weapons into the battlefield in Ukraine, the US has been selling sophisticated weapons to the Taiwan region in violation of the three China-US joint communiqués”, Mao said.
What seems to be happening is yet another “self-fulfilling prophecy” on the part of the West. Believing in its own baseless narrative that China wants to send weapons to Russia, the US takes unnecessary preventive measures whose side effects can be precisely the increase of Russian-Chinese military cooperation. If before there was no plan on the part of Beijing to send arms to the Russian side, it is possible that this will happen now, since the peace proposals have been exhausted and the Chinese are aware that these same forces that push Ukraine towards a proxy war against Russia may soon act against Beijing in Taiwan.
In their anti-Russian and anti-Chinese paranoia, the US and the EU make the wrong decisions and put global peace at risk. Beijing is trying to resolve the situation diplomatically, but Western forces also need to prioritizepeace.