On the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China has released a peace plan (below). The U.S. has portrayed this in a negative light, but Ukraine, France, and Russia have expressed interest in the plan. This is one example of China providing leadership for peace. In another example, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to reestablish relations on March 10 after a round of successful talks that took place in Beijing.
On 24 February 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a twelve-point plan entitled ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’. This ‘peace plan’, as it has been called, is anchored in the concept of sovereignty, building upon the well-established principles of the United Nations Charter (1945) and the Ten Principles from the Bandung Conference of African and Asian states held in 1955. The plan was released two days after China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi visited Moscow, where he met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Russia’s interest in the plan was confirmed by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov shortly after the visit: ‘Any attempt to produce a plan that would put the [Ukraine] conflict on a peace track deserves attention. We are considering the plan of our Chinese friends with great attention’.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the plan hours after it was made public, saying that he would like to meet China’s President Xi Jinping as soon as possible to discuss a potential peace process. France’s President Emmanuel Macron echoed this sentiment, saying that he would visit Beijing in early April. There are many interesting aspects of this plan, notably a call to end all hostilities near nuclear power plants and a pledge by China to help fund the reconstruction of Ukraine. But perhaps the most interesting feature is that a peace plan did not come from any country in the West, but from Beijing.
Birth Again the Dream of Global Peace and Mutual Respect: The Eleventh Newsletter (2023)
Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called the agreement (between Saudi Arabia and Iran) a victory for peace. He was right. That two nations with complex differences and disputes were willing to sit down with their Chinese counterparts to work toward peace in a region that’s been devastated by war and external interference is indeed a major victory.
Contrary to the U.S. narrative, China’s leadership has injected confidence into a world of uncertainty and strife. In the field of global politics, China has demonstrated through concerted action just how serious it is about the cause of peace. The landmark diplomatic achievement between Saudi Arabia and Iran does not exist in a vacuum. It is part of China’s overall leadership role in the larger global movement to democratize international relations and move away from destructive hegemonism.
China’s Example of Leadership Injects Hope into a World of Uncertainty by Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report, March 19, 2023
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
In this video, Hassan El-Tayyab, Friends Committee on National Legislation’s legislative director for Middle East policy discusses the Saudi-Iran deal.
(from the video transcript)
Hassan El-Tayyab is a legislative director for Middle East policy at Friends Committee on National legislation and he joins us now from Washington. Thank you very much for joining us and it’s interesting the Chinese have been the mediators in this because usually we would associate the United States with sort of Middle East issues particularly with Saudi Arabia.
Thank you so much for having me on to discuss this really crucial issue and the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran has fluctuated over the decades but as you mentioned at the top of the segment has been really tense in recent years and this recent agreement to normalize relations mediated by China as really a sea change in the Middle East and through this move China has demonstrated its ability to resolve conflicts impartially rather than relying solely on arms sales on the contrary the United States has had a habit of taking sides and conflicts such as the war in Yemen and as the Region’s largest weapons dealer.
Looking at China’s increasing involvement and mediating these conflicts in the Middle East I think really they (U.S.) should look at this as a positive development that we should all welcome because regional stability is good for the United States, it’s good for the region, and it’s obviously good for the whole world and in terms of regional stability.
They (U.S.) should take advantage of this opportunity to shift its approach in the Middle East away from hegemony away from dominance away from endless war to towards diplomacy towards restraint and towards supporting regional power sharing deals like the one we’re seeing play out right now.
When I read ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’, I was reminded of ‘On the Pulse of Morning’, a poem published by Maya Angelou in 1993, the rubble of the Soviet Union before us, the terrible bombardment of Iraq by the United States still producing aftershocks, the tremors felt in Afghanistan and Bosnia. The title of this newsletter, ‘Birth Again the Dream of Global Peace and Mutual Respect’, sits at the heart of the poem. Angelou wrote alongside the rocks and the trees, those who outlive humans and watch us destroy the world. Two sections of the poem bear repeating:
On the Pulse of Morning
Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
The River sang and sings on.
History, despite its wrenching painMaya Angelou
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Birth Again the Dream of Global Peace and Mutual Respect: The Eleventh Newsletter (2023)
China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis
1. 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.
China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis 2023-02-24 09:00