China calls on parties concerned with the Ukraine crisis to start peace talks with Russia

China supports the timely convening of an international peace conference recognized by Russia and Ukraine, and ensuring equal participation of all parties in the full discussion of all peace plans.

Geng Shuang, China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, confirmed on Saturday, March 16, 2024, that “with the continuation of the fighting between Russia and Ukraine, the risk of repercussions remains great. Another day of fighting brings another element of danger to the world.”  “One day early for peace talks means one day closer to peace, and that peace is a matter of great urgency and public aspiration.”  The Chinese envoy to the UN Security Council, Geng Shuang, also explained that with regard to the Ukraine issue, “China has always maintained that the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected, adhered to the goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and taken the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously.”  Grandfather,” and here came Geng Shuang’s emphasis on “the necessity of supporting all efforts that lead to a political settlement of the crisis”. Confirming China’s official view, which says: “We reiterate our call on both sides of the conflict to show a political desire and meet each other halfway, build consensus, stop the fighting, and begin peace talks soon. We call on the international community to intensify diplomatic efforts to create conditions to ease the situation and achieve a “political settlement”.

   Bearing in mind that China has always maintained an objective and fair stance, and participated in promoting peace talks, China supports the timely convening of an international peace conference recognized by Russia and Ukraine, and ensuring equal participation of all parties in the full discussion of all peace plans. China has expressed several times its readiness to provide the necessary conditions for Russia and Ukraine to engage in negotiations, and will continue to play a constructive role in promoting a political solution to the crisis. A statement by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Minister “Wang Yi” said that: “Beijing is working tirelessly to advance peace talks regarding Ukraine, and called for the resumption of negotiations as soon as possible.  China did not create the Ukrainian crisis, nor is it involved in it.  But it never stood idly by, nor did it exploit the crisis to achieve gain”.

  On the Ukrainian side, Ukraine welcomes China to play the role of peacemaker between it and Russia. Ukrainian President “Volodymyr Zelensky” welcomed Beijing’s peace initiative between Russia and Ukraine, and said: “China’s involvement in peace efforts is an important first step”. This is the same thing that Ukrainian Foreign Minister “Dmytro Kuleba” made clear, saying that he discussed with his Chinese counterpart “Wang Yi”, the prospects for peace in the nearly two-year-long war between Kiev and Russia, as part of a long-standing effort to strengthen relations with Beijing. Dmytro Kuleba also wrote on the “X social networking site” about his talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister at the Munich Security Conference, by emphasizing that: “I met with my Chinese counterpart “Wang Yi” to discuss bilateral relations, trade, and the need to restore just and lasting peace in Ukraine”, with “Kuleba” confirming that he “discussed Ukraine’s plans to hold a global peace summit, which Switzerland agreed to help organize”. He stressed that the two men “ agreed on the necessity of maintaining Ukrainian-Chinese contacts at all levels, and continuing our dialogue”.

  China attended at least one of the preparatory meetings held in anticipation of such a peace summit between Russia and Ukraine.  Here, Ukraine sought to strengthen relations with Beijing, and persuade China to support Kiev’s (10-point peace plan), which focuses on the withdrawal of Russian forces from the occupied territories, the restoration of post-Soviet borders in 1991, and establishing a framework for holding Moscow accountable for its actions.  China, which seeks to establish a “strategic partnership” with Russia, proposed its own peace plan last year, calling for a ceasefire and negotiations, and an end to the sanctions imposed on Russia.  But the plan made little progress. Ukraine has also made efforts to garner support for its diplomatic campaign from countries in Africa and elsewhere in the Global South, Russia benefits from long-standing relations dating back to the Soviet era.

  In this context, China confirmed that it will not participate in the peace negotiations regarding Ukraine in Switzerland without the presence of Russia, as China is trying to persuade Europe to allow Russia to participate in future peace negotiations, which may be held in Switzerland.  Otherwise, Beijing will boycott it. The Chinese government’s special representative for Eurasian affairs “Li Hui”, also tried to convey this position to the authorities of European countries during his European tour on March 2, 2024.  Chinese diplomat  “Li Hui” toured Europe at the beginning of March, to help resolve the Ukrainian conflict. He visited Russia at the beginning of his tour and held a meeting in Moscow with the Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry “Mikhail Galuzin”. According to the announced trip schedule, the Chinese diplomat  “Li Hui” then visited the headquarters of the European Union, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, and France.  This is the second round of shuttle diplomacy by China’s special envoy in the Eurasian region. Li Hui’s first tour took place in May 2023, when he held several meetings with Russian Foreign Minister “Sergei Lavrov”, other diplomats from several European countries, and Ukrainian President “Vladimir Zelensky”.

Based on our previous understanding, the Chinese vision for peace between Russia and Ukraine comes through full emphasis on the necessity of abandoning the Cold War mentality. Ensuring the security of one country should not be at the expense of others, according to the vision of Chinese side, as the security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding Military blocs. The security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly.  There is no easy solution to a complex issue.  All parties must pursue a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable vision of security, taking into account long-term peace and stability, and contributing to the formation of a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture.  The Chinese emphasis came that all parties must oppose the pursuit of security at the expense of the security of others, avoid confrontation between blocs, and work together for peace and stability on the Eurasian continent, as a solution to ending the raging conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and to prevent future conflicts from igniting again.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit