Abstention conveys attitude to Ukraine

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-17 0:28:01

Crimea held its controversial referendum yesterday. All observers believe the independence of Crimea is inexorable. As long as Moscow gives its consent, Crimea's return to Russia's embrace will be Europe's new political reality.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council voted on the Ukraine resolution. Russia deployed its veto, which blocked the resolution condemning the referendum. China abstained.

China's abstention shows its clear stance. It reflects the consistent principle of the Chinese government to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. The interference of the West in the Ukraine crisis has messed up the region and Russia was bound to respond. The problem is how the West and Russia should resolve rather than escalate the confrontation between the two.

The West has kept making high-profile provocations and even announced sanctions on Russia. But Washington and its allies should be clear that it doesn't work for Russian President Vladimir Putin. If they think they can keep squeezing Russia's strategic space and Russia should grin and bear it, they are wrong.

When the former Soviet Union suddenly collapsed, almost all of Eastern Europe fell for NATO and the EU and many Soviet republics joined NATO. It was Russia that bore the pressure from the sudden geopolitical change. The West has never considered Moscow's feelings but pressed harder on it.

What happened in Ukraine last month, in essence, is an anti-Russia color revolution supported by the West. Opinions in the West must have expected that Putin would hit out. But the West didn't warn those supported by it to maintain restraint.

Now the West starts to stress the importance of maintaining the territorial integrity of a sovereign country. But why didn't it do it earlier? In 1999, NATO carried out air strikes against Yugoslavia for over 70 days without the authorization of UN. The independence of Kosovo was tailored by the West. Western opinions even take China's Tibet Autonomous Region as a "country."

There is still some time between Crimea's referendum and Russia's "annexation" of the peninsula that belonged to Russia 60 years ago. Moscow has remained ambiguous on whether or not it will accept it.

The West needs to readjust its Russia policy fundamentally if it wants Russia to change its stance toward Crimea and Ukraine. The compromise between the West and Russia has to be mutual.

Since the Cold War, the US-led West has constantly carried out military attacks and sanctions on other countries without meeting vigorous challenges. Russia this time has dealt a heavy blow, though faults can be exploited under the international law.

Reasoning and international law should become paramount principles in the international community. Double standards and principles that only favor Washington and the West should never prevail. The Crimea crisis should serve as an opportunity for the West to get things right. The outcome of this crisis should not be that Western interests continue to come first.

Posted in: Editorial

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