China announced plans for a peace proposal for the war in Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference. Some world leaders and diplomats were skeptical, calling the plans “vague”. Vice President Kamala Harris said the United States was “troubled” by Beijing’s relationship with Moscow. Something is loading.
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China on Saturday announced its intention to unveil a peace proposal for the war in Ukraine, but many world leaders have approached the plan with caution as the country still refuses to condemn Russia directly.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, China’s foreign affairs chief Wang Yi told the conference that while China was “not directly involved in the conflict, but remained not with arms crossed”.
Wang said China would reveal a solution for peace in the region – underscoring the importance of “sovereignty of all countries” – on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine February 24.
Some politicians and diplomats had reservations about China’s motives – given the country’s recent alliances with Vladimir Putin’s regime, as well as the recent spy balloon controversy.
In his speech on Saturday, Wang criticized the United States, saying Washington’s reaction to Chinese balloons over American airspace was “almost hysterical”, according to Politico.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke after Wang on Saturday, responding that the United States was “disturbed that Beijing has deepened its relationship with Moscow since the start of the war” and expressed concern over China’s supply of lethal weapons in the country, reported the Associated Press.
Other leaders also questioned whether China would actually be able to distance itself from Russia and were wary of the general principles and undefined details of the announcement. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, called the Chinese peace plan “rather vague”.
“China was unable to condemn the invasion,” he said.
Others present, however, hoped the plan might eventually lead to progress in the conflict. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said Beijing could be a useful ally in stopping the invasion.
“We believe that upholding the principle of territorial integrity is China’s core interest in the international arena,” Kuleba told reporters in Germany.
Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, also welcomed China’s plan. “As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has an obligation to use its influence to ensure world peace,” she said.
Baerbock told reporters that she and Wang “spoke intensely” on Friday about the meaning of peace, The Guardian reported, which included “not rewarding the aggressor, the aggressor, but standing up for international law and those who have been attacked”.
The deadly year-long conflict in Ukraine dominated discussions at the security conference which ends on Sunday. On Saturday, the United States announced that it had determined Russia had committed crimes against humanity in a war that has claimed thousands of civilian casualties.