China is not contributing to peace in Ukraine
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke about Beijing’s position paper and called for a “just peace” for Ukraine. However, the German head of state doubted that the People’s Republic wanted to play a constructive role on the way there.
Rightly so, because the Beijing document is essentially a summary of known positions and does not provide a roadmap towards peace, nor does it explain what role China wants to play in this process. Furthermore, it misjudges the facts and belittles the attacked Ukraine, describing the country as a war actor on the same level as Russia.
What is the conflict?
China says both sides must return to the negotiating table to resolve their conflict. But what is the conflict? Beijing claims the cause of the war is that NATO wants to expand. However, at the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s accession to the defense alliance, which as such would not pose any threat to Russia at all, was not in sight. Based on this intentional false claim, it is logical for Beijing that Kiev may also have to cede areas to Russia.
The eastern part of Ukraine occupied by Russia and Crimea belong to the territory of Ukraine, which is certified under international law. Contrary to Beijing’s allegations, Russia did not act in self-defense to forestall NATO, but broke the law that has governed the world order since the end of the Second World War. The war is the result of Putin’s refusal to talk to the neighboring country. It is also not clear what the Russian President actually wants to talk about and on what basis. Like any other country – even Beijing admits this in its document – Ukraine has the right to choose alliances freely and to determine its own path without paternalism. Talks can therefore only take place when Russia has completely withdrawn from the illegally occupied territories.
Model Taiwan policy
Beijing is pursuing a clear strategy with its proposal: the constant repetition of false claims is intended to create the impression that the Chinese position is legitimate. Beijing has been following the same course for decades at the United Nations, where it wrongly claims that Resolution 2758, which grants the People’s Republic China’s seat in the UN, also recognized that Taiwan is a part of this People’s Republic. But that is not the case. However, this example shows that Beijing has staying power when it comes to spreading untruths.
All of this makes it clear that the People’s Republic is not a neutral actor that could play a serious role on the road to peace in Ukraine. On the anniversary of the Russian invasion, the dictatorship once again abstained from voting on a resolution on the war in the United Nations General Assembly. Also, Beijing, in agreement with the Kremlin, refuses to call this war a war.
Accusations only in the direction of the USA
China’s President Xi Jinping claims that his country stands by the territorial integrity of nation states. At the same time, he denies that Russia is trampling on precisely this vested sovereignty. Beijing only raises accusations in the direction of the USA: arms deliveries fanned the war and should therefore be condemned. At the same time, the countries supporting Ukraine are only fulfilling their duty under the international legal principle of “Responsibility to Protect”, which states that those who are innocently attacked must be helped. This is exactly the case in Ukraine. There is no such thing as a good war, but there are good reasons to help an attacked country in need.
There are increasing reports that Beijing is now planning to supply arms to the front in Ukraine to support Putin’s war of aggression. It is clear why this is happening: For Xi, it would be the ultimate horror scenario if Putin were toppled and the democratic opposition came to power in Russia. In terms of hypocrisy, however, this approach cannot be surpassed. Beijing is deliberately turning the war in Ukraine into a proxy war between itself and the United States. It doesn’t look like de-escalation. A just peace cannot be achieved with China’s help.