How Chinese FM debunks West’s China-smearing talking points over Ukraine crisis
Published: Mar 08, 2022 06:42 PM
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a press conference on China's foreign policy and foreign relations via video link on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 7, 2022. Photo: The Paper

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a press conference on China's foreign policy and foreign relations via video link on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 7, 2022. Photo: The Paper

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The tense situation in Ukraine has been deteriorating since February. Some Western politicians and media outlets, especially those of the US, keep smearing China by propagandizing false information on the Ukraine crisis. On Monday, during a press conference on the sidelines of the two sessions, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi confronted the "traps" set by the West over the Ukraine situation.

West's 'discourse traps'over Ukraine crisis at Chinese FM's press conference Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT

West's 'discourse traps'over Ukraine crisis at Chinese FM's press conference Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT

Trap one: Making a false charge that China knew Russia's military plan in advance. 

This rhetoric drives a wedge between China and Russia.

Russia is an independent major power. It has its own strategic judgment and interests when it comes to making decisions on foreign actions. Whether or not China knew its plan in advance, China is not capable to stop Russia. As Wang said, it takes more than one cold day to freeze three feet of ice, the reasons behind the Ukraine situation today are complicated. 

For the past 30 years, the US has promoted NATO's eastward expansion five times in spite of Russia's strong opposition. When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the US in August 2021, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that Washington would continue to support Ukraine to "defend against Russia's aggression." Yet after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalated, the US has been the hidden hand behind the scene. 

Trap two: Slandering China for turning a blind eye to the worsening situation in Ukraine.

China has always been making efforts to cool down the situation. 

At the press conference, Wang Yi reiterated that the current international community should focus on two major issues. The first is to promote peace and talks. The second is to prevent large-scale humanitarian crises. He said the Red Cross Society of China would soon send emergency aid to Ukraine. 

China is helping to resolve the Ukrainian crisis peacefully in its own way, but the media and politicians in some countries still find the situation in Ukraine not chaotic enough. They keep exerting pressure on other countries, escalating the situation.

Trap three: Claiming that China supports Russia's special military operation.

The Cold War mentality of either friend or foe, and the Western approach of piecing together so-called "alliances" are not applicable to China-Russia relations.

Wang stressed at the press conference that China has adopted an objective and impartial attitude. We independently assess the situation and make our position clear on the basis of the merits of the issue. 

All countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and upheld and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be jointly safeguarded. This is a principle China consistently holds and a basic norm governing international relations that all countries should adhere to. 

Trap four: Claiming that China is happy to see a deteriorating situation between Russia and Ukraine.

Some US politicians and media are trying to put China in the opposite side of world peace and development. China has always stressed the hope for a ceasefire, a deescalated situation, and the safety of civilian lives and property, hoping to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis. As Wang cautioned at the press conference, "what is needed to solve complex issues is a cool head and a rational mind, not adding fuel to the fire which only intensifies the situation."

Trap five: Claiming that China does not care about human rights in Ukraine or the lives of Ukrainians.

Wang proposed a six-point initiative at the press conference to prevent a massive humanitarian crisis: First, make sure that humanitarian operations abide by the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and avoid politicizing humanitarian issues; Second, give full attention to the displaced persons in and from Ukraine, and provide them with proper shelter; Third, ensure the protection of civilians, and prevent secondary humanitarian disasters in Ukraine; Fourth, provide for safe and smooth humanitarian aid activities, including providing rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access… and so on. China is willing to make its own efforts to overcome the humanitarian crisis, and the Chinese Red Cross will provide a batch of emergency humanitarian aid to Ukraine as soon as possible. 

This should be the most pragmatic, rational and fair humanitarian plan.

West's 'discourse traps'over Ukraine crisis at Chinese FM's press conference Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT

West's 'discourse traps'over Ukraine crisis at Chinese FM's press conference Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT

Trap six: Speculating that China will take advantage of the situation in Ukraine to "reunify" Taiwan. 

Wang stressed at the press conference that "the Taiwan question and the Ukraine issue are different in nature and are not comparable at all. Most fundamentally, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and the Taiwan question is entirely China's internal affair." 

There are those who emphasize the principle of sovereignty on the Ukraine issue, while undermining China's sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Taiwan question. The Chinese people's determination and strong will to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity are unwavering. Peace on the island depends on the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

Trap seven: Assuming that China and Russia intend to "join hands" to overthrow the world order. 

Some US politicians and media have set this discourse trap, which is a comprehensive denial of China-Russia relations. At the press conference, Wang once again made it clear that China and Russia are both permanent members of the UN Security Council, important neighbors, and strategic partners. The joint statement between China and Russia on international relations in a new era and global sustainable development sends an unequivocal message to the world that China and Russia jointly oppose attempts to revive the Cold War mindset or provoke an ideology-based confrontation, and stand for promoting democratization of international relations as well as upholding the principles of the UN Charter. 

Trap eight: Slandering that China provides military assistance to either side in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Such assumptions made by some US politicians and media outlets show their petty mind. In the early days of WWI and WWII, the US made huge profits out of selling weapons to parties involved in the wars. In the face of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US has measured another's corn by its own bushel, in an attempt to portray China as a "warmonger." 

Unlike the US, which provided a large amount of military equipment to Ukraine, it's impossible for China to provide weapons to either side. 

The Chinese government has stressed on multiple occasions that the China-Russia relationship is based on non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party. Wang also reiterated this point at the press conference. 

Trap nine: Speculating that China would "cut off" trade with Russia or Ukraine. 

This is a hypothetical version of "Chinese sanctions." The truth is: China has always opposed any illegal unilateral sanctions. Sanctions have never been a fundamental and effective way to solve problems, but will only bring about great difficulties to the economy and livelihood of relevant countries and further aggravate division and confrontation.

Russia and Ukraine are both important countries along the Belt and Road route. The trade and cooperation between China and the two countries won't stop. On the contrary, when there are differences, more efforts should be made to tap more opportunities to promote friendly mutual assistance. Wang at the press conference expressed gratitude to the governments and societies of many countries, including the Russian and Ukrainian governments, for their support in the evacuation of Chinese citizens. 

Trap ten: Whitewashing the US as a mitigator in the Ukraine crisis.

There is no way that such attempt could fool the world. The US is trying to shift the blame for worsening situation in Ukraine onto others, as if everything that is happening has nothing to do with the US and as if the US is a "good guy," and it's other countries that should take the responsibilities. As a matter of the fact, the US is the culprit of the Ukraine crisis. It claimed that NATO's eastward expansion is aimed at safeguarding peace. Has the goal been achieved? The US said it would prevent wars in Europe. Has it done so? Just as Wang said in the press conference, in order to maintain their hegemonic status, some major powers regained the Cold War mentality and created factional confrontations, which further aggravated the turmoil and division, and made the already troubled world even worse.

Wang Wen is executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY). Xu Tianqi is an associate research fellow at RDCY. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn