China releases 12-point plan for peace in Ukraine

Feb 27, 2023
Russia and Ukraine War and peace summit symbol as cracks in cement for the Ukrainian and Russian nations.

China called for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine so that negotiations can begin for peace and rebuilding. It called for respect for sovereign borders – which seemed like advice to Russia to withdraw.

But it also called for respect given to security concerns – which seems like acknowledgement that the west should fulfil earlier promises not to expand NATO to Russian borders.

On the one year anniversary of the war, China called for the end of western sanctions, and the shift to new priorities: these include the protection of civilians, the recognition that nuclear power plants must be isolated from danger, a halt to attacks on civilian infrastructure, and the guarantee of proper treatment for prisoners of war.

All threats of using nuclear weapons must also stop, and international agreements for food transport must be resumed. China called for a joint body to work on rebuilding infrastructure, and volunteered to play a key role in that process itself.

The peace plan is worded in typically generalized language, so you have to read the document carefully and think about what the points imply.

The 12 points are summarised as follows:

1) Respect sovereignty.

(This point appears to be aimed at Russia. In other words, sorry, Russia, you need to leave.)

2) Legitimate security interests should be valued and properly addressed.

(This appears to be aimed at NATO. In other words, they need to fulfil their promises not to expand NATO to Russia’s doorstep.)

3) Stop the shooting.

(The text says: “Cease fire. Wars have no winners.” This should really be obvious, but the NATO side has refused to consider this without a unilateral withdrawal by Russia.)

4) Start the talking.

(The document argues that dialogue and negotiation should the goal, not endless escalation of violence. Again, this should be obvious.)

5) Alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

(Prioritize the challenges of helping people suffering in the war zones, the Chinese document says.)

6) Implement the international codes regarding war.

(All parties must agree to follow international pacts such as the prevention of attacks on civilian facilities and the decent treatment of prisoners of war. This is a clearly positive step that both sides need to hear.)

7) All parties should agree to abide by Convention on Nuclear Safety.

(The nuclear facilities in Ukraine should not be part of the fighting, China says, clearly thinking of potential widespread harm.)

8) Parties must not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against each other.

(Politicians in Russia and the US have talked about using “nukes”, but this should not be even spoken of as a threat, China says. The same goes for biological and chemical weapons.)

9) Guarantee the safe transportation of food under existing agreements.

All parties should implement the Black Sea food transport agreement signed by Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations. “China’s International Food Security Cooperation Initiative provides a feasible solution to the global food crisis,” it adds.

10) Stop unilateral sanctions.

(This appears to be aimed at the United States and its followers, which regularly overrides United Nations mandates to create its own laws. Instead of doing this, “the countries concerned” should “play a role in cooling the crisis in Ukraine”. Again, this is obvious, but it’s hard to imagine the U.S. reining itself in.)

11) Ensure the stability of the industrial chain supply chain.

(Parties should work jointly to mitigate spillover effects that disrupt international energy, finance, food trade, and transportation, the Chinese document says.)

12) Promote post-war reconstruction.

(The international community can united to begin post-war reconstruction in conflict areas. China itself can “play a constructive role in this regard”, the text says.)

Is anyone listening?

Is anyone listening? What likelihood is there of this plan being taken seriously? It depends. If you judge by the response of western governments and media, we can almost guarantee that it will be virtually ignored. But that in itself makes an important point. People who won’t listen to a plan for peace clearly do not want peace.

As to the rest of the world, that’s a different issue. Western media, poisoning minds against China, operate in virtually every country in the planet. But China’s basic message is one that all humanity can see is the better path – respecting each side’s needs, and opting for negotiations instead of killing.

In the meantime, the US Department of Defence detailed its own proposal for next steps in the Ukraine war: a delivery of US$460 million worth of goods including artillery ammunition, and armour-piercing missile systems.

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