China on Friday called for a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine, and for peace talks to resume, one year after the day the war began.
In its proposal, China’s Foreign Ministry repeated long-held positions by the Chinese government.
Analysts have further said that Beijing, which has officially taken a neutral stance in the war between Russia and Ukraine—despite also stating a “no limits friendship” with Moscow—would be unlikely to broker any peace treaty.
The cease-fire and peace treaty proposal came two days after China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where the two pledged to strengthen ties as Russia continues to wage its war.
China’s proposal calls for the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries” to be respected. It does not say, however, what should happen to the territory Russia has occupied since the invasion. It further calls for an end to “unilateral” sanctions on Russia, and it indirectly criticizes the expansion of NATO.
China also condemns threats of nuclear force during the same week that Putin said in a speech, “As before, we will pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad,” referring to nuclear missiles based on land, sea and in the air.
Putin also said this week that he was suspending Russia’s participation in the 2010 New START treaty following Biden’s Ukraine visit—though hours after that announcement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it would respect the nuclear weapons caps proposed under that treaty, and that Russia would continue to exchange information about ballistic missile test launches, as per earlier agreements with the U.S.
Speaking after China issued its proposal—but without referring to it—Zhanna Leshchynska, the charge d’affaires at the Ukrainian embassy in Beijing, said Ukraine doesn’t want peace that comes at a price.
“We will not agree to anything that keeps Ukrainian territories occupied and puts our people at the aggressor’s mercy,” Leshchynska insisted during an address at the EU mission to China marking one year since the Russian invasion.
While there was no official response from the Kremlin to China’s proposal, a senior Russian lawmaker, Leonid Slutsky, hailed the plan, saying it puts forth objectives that would mark “an end of the hegemony of the collective West.”