Chinese Vice FM highlights root cause of Ukraine crisis, urges Asia-Pacific to cherish peace
Published: Mar 19, 2022 06:01 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The root cause of the current Ukraine crisis lies in the Cold War mentality and power politics, and there are some lessons that should be learned from it, including that one should not seek absolute unilateral security and group confrontation, globalization should not be "weaponized" and small countries should not be used as pawns, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said at a forum on Saturday, less than one day after the video meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden on Friday evening.

Le made the remarks at the 4th International Forum on Security and Strategy held by Tsinghua University's Center for International Security and Strategy. During the forum, Le said that the US should implement the positive statements made by US President Joe Biden following the latest virtual meeting between the two heads of state. 

Since NATO had promised that it would move "not one inch eastward", it should not renege on its word while keep pushing its boundary eastward by up to thousands of kilometers, Le said, noting that such pursuit of absolute security actually leads to absolute insecurity. Pushing a major country, especially a nuclear power, to the corner would entail repercussions too dreadful to contemplate.  

Other lessons that should be learned from the current Ukraine crisis include that bloc politics and group confrontation should be rejected while small countries should not be used as pawns, said Le. 

A NATO commitment of no eastward expansion could have easily ended the crisis and stopped the suffering. Instead, one side chose to fan the flames from a safe distance, watching its own arms dealers, bankers and oil tycoons make a fortune out of the war while leaving people of a small country with the wounds of war that would take years to heal. This is highly immoral and irresponsible, the Vice Foreign Minister said.


In responding to the current sanctions on Russia, Le said that China has all along opposed unilateral sanctions that have neither basis in international law nor mandate from the Security Council. History has shown time and again that instead of solving problems, imposing sanctions is like "putting out fire with firewood" and will only make things worse. 

"Sanctions against Russia are now going to such lengths that globalization is being used as a weapon, even people from sports, cultural, art and entertainment communities are not spared, cats and trees are sanctioned, and the overseas assets of Russian citizens have been seized groundlessly," he said. 

The Vice Foreign Minister noted that the Ukraine crisis is a mirror for people to observe the situation in Asia-Pacific and urges people to think how to prevent a crisis like this from happening in the Asia-Pacific. 

"We must cherish peace, not to undermine regional tranquility; we must promote unity and cooperation and not create division and confrontation; and we must pursue independence and self-strength and not to let others decides our future", said Le. 

He noted that the overall peace in Asia-Pacific region for several decades is the result of joint and the dedicated efforts of all countries, and no country should pursue its so-called absolute security at the expense of other countries' security. Otherwise, as the proverb goes, "One who tries to blow out other's oil lamp will get his beard on fire."

Now some countries insist on going against the trend to pursue the Indo-Pacific strategy, provoke trouble, set up closed and exclusive small circles or groups, and tilt the region off course toward fragmentation and bloc-based division. Such an Indo-Pacific Strategy is as dangerous as the NATO strategy of eastward expansion in Europe. If allowed to go on unchecked, it would bring unimaginable consequences, and ultimately push the Asia-Pacific over the edge of an abyss, Le said.