Why China's peace plan on Ukraine should be welcomed
Published: Mar 03, 2023 01:17 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The war in Ukraine, which has raged for over a year now, is a profound tragedy which has caused great human suffering and dangerously destabilized the international situation. Finding a political solution to achieve a lasting peace therefore needs to be at the top of the international agenda. China's recently released 12-point peace plan calling for dialogue and negotiations to achieve a peaceful settlement of the conflict should be warmly welcomed across the world. Importantly both Russia and Ukraine have expressed an interest in China's proposal. 

Unfortunately, pushing for peace runs counter to the agenda of the US, which created the conditions for war by pushing for NATO expansion, despite the fact it knew this crossed red lines of Russia's security interests. Following this the US has escalated its proxy war in Ukraine over the past year with the goal of "weakening Russia." That is why, despite the interest expressed by other countries, China's peace plan has been rejected by the US. 

In order to find a political solution to bring peace to Ukraine it is crucial to understand not merely immediate but the underlying causes of this war which must obviously be discussed in peace negotiations. 

The war was the result of the US' unwise and aggressive foreign policy, which has seen a hostile nuclear armed military alliance - NATO - expand up to Russia's border. The eastward expansion of NATO has taken place despite repeated assurances that the US made to the Soviet Union at the time of the Cold War's end that NATO would not, in the words of the then US Secretary of State James Baker, expand "an inch" eastward.

The proposal for Ukraine to join NATO is a threat to Russia as it would enable the US to station weapons on Ukrainian territory within a few minutes flight time of Moscow. Russia made it clear that Ukraine joining NATO was a red line that they would not tolerate being crossed, but the US proceeded to push this forward regardless.   

As China's peace plan makes clear, guarantees for the security of both Ukraine and Russia is therefore crucial for delivering a lasting peace. In this framework the importance of Ukraine ruling out membership of NATO is important for bringing about peace in Ukraine. In fact, the war in Ukraine could have been avoided had the US not pushed for Ukraine's membership of NATO. 

Successful peace negotiations will also require the democratic rights, including the rights of minorities within Ukraine, to be respected. 

Protection for the rights of Russian speaking minority within Ukraine and democratic rights for all is therefore another key issue that would need to be addressed in peace talks. 

There is much to be discussed, but the goal must be to settle these issues in negotiations and not on a battlefield.

Instead of pushing for negotiations and a political solution to achieve a lasting peace, the US is in fact escalating the war in Ukraine. NATO countries in Europe have been dragged into supporting this conflict, and have followed Washington's lead by sending tens of billions of dollars' worth of weapons into Ukraine.  

A push toward escalation is not in the interests of the people of Ukraine, Russia, Europe, the US or the rest of the world. 

Tens of thousands of people have already paid with their lives in Ukraine. Many more will lose their lives if this war continues to escalate. 

The enormous sums of money being spent on the war in Ukraine by the US and European countries could be much better utilized to tackle the cost of living crisis, climate change, fund health and education services and pursue economic development all over the world. 

Millions of people in Europe are now protesting against the economic policies of their governments. At the same time as European governments are neglecting the living standards of their own populations, they are pushing toward greatly increasing military spending.  

The perspective of the Global South on the Ukraine war, which largely takes the same position as China, was eloquently expressed in a statement by Namibia's Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the recent Munich Security Conference in February 2023 when she said: "we are promoting a peaceful resolution of that conflict so that the entire world and all the resources of the world can be focused on improving the conditions of people around the world instead of being spent on acquiring weapons, killing people, and actually creating hostilities."

China's peace plan states that the "international community should stay committed to the right approach of promoting talks for peace." This proposal corresponds to the interests of the majority of humanity who want to avoid an escalation of a proxy war involving nuclear armed states and instead focus on building a peaceful and prosperous future. 

The author is the No Cold War (a worldwide organization against the US-led New Cold War) British organizer. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn