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China’s Twelve Proposals for Ending the Ukrainian Conflict

Written by: Nick G. on 28 February 2023


(Above: Civilian infrastructure bombed by Russians, Dnipro.  Photo source: Oksana Dutchak Facebook page)

Several days ago, on February 24, to coincide with the first anniversary of Russian imperialism’s invasion of Ukraine, China released a paper stating its position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

In general, Australian mainstream media have dismissed the Chinese statement without making the full text available for public consideration. That includes the ABC as well as the privately-owned capitalist media.

The people can make their own judgement of the Chinese statement, the full text of which we publish below.

On March 15, 2022, just three weeks after the invasion, we printed an article under the heading “Self-interest will determine China’s position on war in Ukraine.” 

It is worth revisiting in order to contextualise China’s anniversary statement.

China is putting itself forward as a neutral observer of the conflict whose proposals hold the key to ending the violence.

It has a number of short-comings, principal among which is the failure to clearly identify Russian imperialism as the aggressor and to side with the Ukrainians who are fighting to drive an invading aggressor from their country.

But it also has some positives.  In its first point, it says that “The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld.” This favours the Ukrainian resistance for the act of invasion has undermined Ukrainian sovereignty.

In the second point, the Chinese say “The security of a country should not be pursued at the expense of others.” This is a criticism of both the US-NATO’s threats to Russia via their eastwards expansion, and of Russia for asserting that its security required the invasion of Ukraine. 

In successive points, China calls for the ending of hostilities and the resumption of peace talks. Propositions such as these are likely to have wide appeal, although the Ukrainian resistance is likely to suspect talks that could require them to accept the Russian occupation of the Donbass. They key question here is respecting the right of all Ukrainians to self-determination.

Point eight takes issue with the threat to use nuclear weapons. Although there have been some politicians from the US-NATO bloc who have advocated this, the loudest threats have come from the Russian side. This includes Putin, his military partners and the assemblage of shock jock media identities who support Putin. To maintain the appearance of even-handedness, the Chinese statement also opposes the development and use of chemical and biological weapons, a statement directed at US companies which have established such facilities, banned in the US, in Ukraine.

In points eleven and twelve, the Chinese call for maintaining the “existing world economic system” and offer to play a part in Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction. Prior to the Russian invasion, Chinese businesses were doing very well in Ukraine, thank you very much, and Chinese imperialism is manoeuvring to restore its Belt and Road links into the Ukrainian economy.

Our view remains that China’s reaction to the Ukrainian war is driven by self-interest. 

The Chinese position should be made available. It has some good points as well as obvious shortcomings. Both arise from Chinese social-imperialism’s view of the long-term advantage it can gain from the proposals it has on offer.
Full text: China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis
Xinhua · | February 24, 2023

China released a paper stating its position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis on Friday. The following is the full text.
China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis

. Respecting the sovereignty of all countries. Universally recognized international law, including the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, must be strictly observed. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All parties should jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations and defend international fairness and justice. Equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected.

2. Abandoning the 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. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly. There is no simple solution to a complex issue. All parties should, following the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and bearing in mind the long-term peace and stability of the world, help forge a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. All parties should oppose the pursuit of one's own security at the cost of others' security, prevent bloc confrontation, and work together for peace and stability on the Eurasian Continent.

3. Ceasing hostilities. Conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control. 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.

4. Resuming peace talks. Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis. All efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be encouraged and supported. The international community should stay committed to the right approach of promoting talks for peace, help parties to the conflict open the door to a political settlement as soon as possible, and create conditions and platforms for the resumption of negotiation. China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

5. Resolving the humanitarian crisis. All measures conducive to easing the humanitarian crisis must be encouraged and supported. Humanitarian operations should follow the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and humanitarian issues should not be politicized. The safety of civilians must be effectively protected, and humanitarian corridors should be set up for the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones. Efforts are needed to increase humanitarian assistance to relevant areas, improve humanitarian conditions, and provide rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, with a view to preventing a humanitarian crisis on a larger scale. The UN should be supported in playing a coordinating role in channeling humanitarian aid to conflict zones.

6. Protecting civilians and prisoners of war (POWs). Parties to the conflict should strictly abide by international humanitarian law, avoid attacking civilians or civilian facilities, protect women, children and other victims of the conflict, and respect the basic rights of POWs. China supports the exchange of POWs between Russia and Ukraine, and calls on all parties to create more favorable conditions for this purpose.

7. Keeping nuclear power plants safe. China opposes armed attacks against nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities, and calls on all parties to comply with international law including the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) and resolutely avoid man-made nuclear accidents. China supports the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in playing a constructive role in promoting the safety and security of peaceful nuclear facilities.

8. Reducing strategic risks. Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought. The threat or use of nuclear weapons should be opposed. Nuclear proliferation must be prevented and nuclear crisis avoided. China opposes the research, development and use of chemical and biological weapons by any country under any circumstances.

9. Facilitating grain exports. All parties need to implement the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed by Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine and the UN fully and effectively in a balanced manner, and support the UN in playing an important role in this regard. The cooperation initiative on global food security proposed by China provides a feasible solution to the global food crisis.

10. Stopping unilateral sanctions. Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue; they only create new problems. China opposes unilateral sanctions unauthorized by the UN Security Council. Relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction" against other countries, so as to do their share in deescalating the Ukraine crisis and create conditions for developing countries to grow their economies and better the lives of their people.

11. Keeping industrial and supply chains stable. All parties should earnestly maintain the existing world economic system and oppose using the world economy as a tool or weapon for political purposes. Joint efforts are needed to mitigate the spillovers of the crisis and prevent it from disrupting international cooperation in energy, finance, food trade and transportation and undermining the global economic recovery.

12. Promoting post-conflict reconstruction. The international community needs to take measures to support post-conflict reconstruction in conflict zones. China stands ready to provide assistance and play a constructive role in this endeavor.


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