China keeps striving for mediation by engaging all relevant parties in Russia-Ukraine conflict, while US only ‘adds fuel to fire’
Published: Feb 21, 2023 11:01 PM
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes a speech at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 15, 2020.(Xinhua/Lu Yang)

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes a speech at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 15, 2020.(Xinhua/Lu Yang)

Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi started his Russia visit on Tuesday after his trip to France, Italy, Hungary and a series of meetings with diplomats from countries including the US and Ukraine in Germany on the sideline of the Munich Security Conference, with analysts saying China is making efforts for mediation by engaging with all relevant parties involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, while the US keeps on adding fuel to the flame and exploiting the conflict to make a political show. 

Wang held talks with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian media Sputnik reported.

US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev on Monday and announced a new military aid worth $500 million. Experts said besides bolstering morale in Ukraine's battlefield, the trip is more about a "political show" made by Biden for his domestic audiences in the America, and has nothing to do with conflict mediation and peace promotion. "It's pathetic that the US president can only offer $500 million as a 'meaningful support,' because such money will be spent in probably just one or two weeks," said experts. 

Some Western media are trying to make comparison between the US and China on the two countries' latest diplomatic activities and try to make it look like the two biggest economies are picking sides between the two warring sides of an ongoing war, but Chinese analysts said these Western media outlets deliberately ignored China's engagements and communications with other relevant parties ahead of Wang's visit to Russia, and try to downplay or misinterpret China's efforts for mediation. 

Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that Washington and some Western media outlets are trying to make the current situation look like "the US and China are having bloc-to-bloc confrontation, with the US backing Ukraine while China supporting Russia, and this is why US State Secretary Antony Blinken and some other Western diplomats are making nonsense "warnings" to China about not to supply Russia with weapons. 

China and Russia have made very clear many times that the strategic relations between them will not target any third party, and China has the right to have cooperation with Russia based on their own interests, and the US and its followers have no right to point their fingers to the China-Russia relations, Cui noted. 

Before his trip to Moscow, Wang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, also met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on the margins of the Munich Security Conference. 

Kuleba said, "Ukraine and China have kept contact all along the past year," and "Ukraine values China's status and important influence on international arena, as well as China's stance on a political settlement to the crisis. Ukraine expects China to continue its constructive role," according to the website of the Chinese foreign ministry. 

"This has once again proved that China is paying efforts to mediate, not playing the game of 'bloc-to-bloc' confrontation with Russia," Cui said. 

Zhang Hong, associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that Wang's trip to Russia is not solely focusing on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but eyes on the comprehensive China-Russia strategic ties. 

"The main purpose for Wang's trip is to push forward bilateral cooperation in light of the current challenges facing world economy, and make preparation for higher level official exchanges for the two countries. As two major powers that have significant influence in the world, the two sides must maintain a stable and healthy relationship and maintain a smooth communication in fields including trade, energy, global governance and climate change," he said. 

The US and its followers have been using "colored glasses" to view issues related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. "It seems like anyone who talks with Russia will be seen as siding with Moscow in Russia-Ukraine conflict," Zhang said. 

The Munich Security Conference last week should be a platform for mediation when the situation is facing new danger of escalation, but the US and the West cut almost all contacts with Russia,  only being interested in how to increase more weapon supplies to escalate the war, which is totally opposite to the mediation effort and peace promotion, experts said. 

Biden's show in Kiev

Biden announced a half-billion dollars in new assistance, saying the package would include more military equipment, such as artillery ammunition, more javelins and Howitzers. And he said new sanctions would be imposed on Moscow later this week. "One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands," Biden said, CNN reported.

A Beijing-based expert on international relations who asked for anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday that "such slogans sound weak, boring and useless, when heavy casualties and huge cost of ammunitions and other expenditures are troubling Ukrainian forces in the battle fields while the Russian side is still able to prepare for another major offensive."

Based on the cost of the war under current intensity, $500 million will soon be exhausted in the battle fields in one or two weeks, so such announcement by Biden and his visit to Kiev is actually a show to shape his image as a "champion of democracy and freedom," and has nothing to do with the life and death of Ukrainian people, the expert said.  

"Russia cannot be defeated on the battlefield," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a message to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday, TASS reported.

Putin's message shows that Russia is going to follow through the military operation, and is prepared to fight against NATO, said Li Yonghui, a senior research fellow in the Institute of Russia, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Li predicted there will be a big spring offensive in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the crisis is likely to escalate. 

Putin's speech is a response to the anti-Russia narratives in the Munich Security Conference, Russian political scientist Vladimir Pavlenko told Global Times on Tuesday.

A responsible and feasible act at the moment is to help the two warring sides to realize negotiation for ceasefire, rather than encourage one side to completely defeat the other side even this could cause further escalation, and this attempt is "costly, dangerous and unrealistic," but this is also what the US and its allies love to do at this moment, the Beijing-based expert noted. "This is the main reason why we are still yet to see the dawn of peace."