China calls for Russia-Ukraine ceasefire, proposes path to peace

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • China has announced a 12-point proposal to end the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. 
  • The country called for a ceasefire between the two nations and maintains it is neutral in the conflict. 
  • Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the war. 

China has called for a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia and a gradual de-escalation of the situation that will pave the way for peace talks, as part of a 12-point proposal to end the conflict.

The plan by China, which was released on Friday morning by the Foreign Ministry and coincides with the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, urges an end to Western sanctions against Russia, the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians, and steps to ensure the export of grain after disruptions caused global food prices to spike last year.

“Conflict and war benefit no one,” the ministry said in a statement.

“All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiralling out of control,” it said.

“All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire.”

The proposal mainly elaborates on long-held Chinese positions, including that all countries’ “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity be effectively guaranteed”. The plan also called for an end to the “Cold War mentality”, which is Beijing’s standard term for what it regards as global dominance by the United States and its interference in other countries’ affairs.

READ | US will provide $2 bln security aid to Ukraine, the White House announced

Beijing — which claims to be neutral in the conflict — has a “no limits” relationship with Russia and has refused to criticise Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine or even refer to it as such. It has also accused the West of provoking the conflict and “fanning the flames” by providing Ukraine with arms.

Beijing’s top diplomat Wang Yi visited Moscow this week and pledged a deeper relationship between the countries while Putin hailed “new frontiers” in ties with Beijing and signalled that China’s leader Xi Jinping would visit Russia.

Xi is expected to deliver a “peace speech” on Friday, though some analysts have cast doubt on whether Beijing’s efforts to act as peacemaker will go beyond rhetoric.

Before the Chinese peace proposal was released, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it an important first step.

He said at a news conference on Thursday with Spain’s prime minister: 

I think that, in general, the fact that China started talking about peace in Ukraine, I think that it is not bad. It is important for us that all states are on our side, on the side of justice.

On Thursday, China abstained from voting when the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) approved a nonbinding resolution that called for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces.

The UNGA overwhelmingly adopted the resolution that demanded Moscow withdraw from Ukraine and stop fighting.

FRIDAY BRIEFING | Ukraine war: One year on and the ramifications for SA and the world

There were 141 votes in favour of the resolution and 32 abstentions. Six countries joined Russia to vote against the resolution: Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria.

Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy dismissed the UN resolution as “useless”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter that the UN vote was a “powerful sign of the unflagging global support” for Ukraine.

Ronald Suny | Ukraine war exposed the folly – and unintended consequences – of ‘armed missionaries’

Far from the front lines of Ukraine, Russia’s invasion of its neighbour has damaged the world economy and a Cold War chill has set into international relations.

Washington has said China is considering providing weapons to Russia, a move that could intensify the conflict into a confrontation between Russia and China on one side and Ukraine and the US-led NATO military alliance on the other.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Do you think the wardens deployed across Gauteng will make a dent in curbing crime?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No, proper policing is needed
80% - 2681 votes
Yes, anything will help at this point
20% - 671 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.