The key to resolving the Ukrainian crisis is not in the hands of China, but in the hands of the US and the West. China is not the cause of the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to the crisis. It is Western countries that are deeply involved in the crisis. However, China has not stood idly by; it has actively promoted peace talks with a responsible attitude, writes Valdai Club expert Wang Wen.
Some Western media regard Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia as China “choosing sides” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and favouring Russia. This is yet another typical misread; several Western outlets have also opined that China is responsible for the continuation of the crisis.
China not only has a good relationship with Russia, China and Ukraine are also strategic partners, and the two nations have had long-term friendly exchanges. During the conflict, China has maintained communication with Ukraine. The leaders of the countries have exchanged letters, and their foreign ministers have met in person and have talked on the phone many times.
China-Ukraine relations are completely different from the so-called “equivalent” exchange in which the US provides money and guns, while Ukrainians sacrifice their lives, but actually “lose together.”
As global powers, the relationship between China and Russia is even more special. Many Chinese sympathize with Russia and fully understand Russia’s security demands. What Russia wants is for NATO to stop expanding eastward; not to station troops in Ukraine, or to deploy missiles. Russia wants a safer adjacent border environment. Only the United States and NATO can provide answers to these questions.
From this perspective, the key to resolving the Ukrainian crisis is not in the hands of China, but in the hands of the US and the West. China is not the cause of the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to the crisis. It is Western countries that are deeply involved in the crisis. However, China has not stood idly by. It has actively promoted peace talks with a responsible attitude.
Xi’s visit to Russia will be to promote peace, not to arm any party or encourage either party to fight the other.
China has never sold arms to any warring party or conflict area, and has not done so during the Ukraine crisis. The United States is the largest supplier of weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield. It has been delivering lethal weapons and constantly elevating tensions.
Even if rumours prove true that China will call for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine (on the heels of China’s brokering an agreement on the resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran), the White House’s response is likely to be that a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine is unacceptable.
Realistically speaking, the top priority at the moment is not to resolve controversial issues such as “invasion” and “war crimes,” but to establish a ceasefire, stop the war, and rebuild the Ukrainian homeland. It is imperative to end the slaughter of soldiers on both sides and start the resettlement of millions of refugees who have been made homeless.
Some Western politicians object to China’s high-level visit to Russia, mainly because they don’t want to see China-Russian relations strengthen, especially in the context of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Such thinking is unrealistic.
China-Russian relations have nothing to do with the Ukraine crisis. Whether there is a crisis in Ukraine or not, the leaders of China and Russia will maintain normal exchanges and mutual visits. Over the past 10 years, Xi has visited Russia eight times and met with President Vladimir Putin 40 times.
Friendly cooperation between China and Russia has a solid political, economic and cultural foundation. Consolidating and deepening the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era is in the fundamental interests of the two countries’ peoples. It is conducive to world peace and stability, and is a positive global asset. Many Western leaders have visited Russia during the Ukrainian crisis. It is unreasonable to think that Xi’s visit to Russia is about “choosing sides.”
China pursues an independent foreign policy, focused on peace. Xi’s visit to Russia is a normal exchange between two sovereign countries and will not be affected by the complicated international situation. The development of China-Russian relations is honest and upright; Western politicians need to look beyond their ideology before they criticize.
Some voices in the United States believe that China and Russia are getting closer, which underscores the failure of the United States’ anti-China strategy. The US strategic community should reflect on why China-US relations have been on a yoyo string over the last decade. The 1980s were a kind of honeymoon: China and the US then cooperated in counter-terrorism in the 2000s, and China helped the US buy US debt during the international financial crisis in 2008. The two countries were described as “stakeholders” in the 2010s, but now Sino-US relations are so bad there’s even talk of potential and unthinkable armed conflict.
Here’s what the United States has done to contain China over the years: wage trade and technology wars against China, as well as constantly agitate China’s interests in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The US sale of advanced weapons to China’s Taiwan region has undermined China’s sovereignty and unity, as well as the possibility for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Against this background, the United States wants China to cooperate in dealing with the Ukraine crisis, which has spurred a joke on the internet that mocks the United States’ China policy: “Please help me contain Russia so that I can better contain you in the future.”
China’s foreign policy reflects the aspirations of a vast number of developing countries and peace-loving people throughout the world. It has been positively evaluated by countries and organizations including Russia and Ukraine. It is the most practical and effective peace plan, at present.
China has proven that it has always stood on the side of peace. It is the only country among the major powers that has systematically proposed a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis. If the US and the West hope to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, they should trust China’s experience, and support China’s proposals. Only in this way will fewer innocent people die on the Ukrainian battlefield.