China urges Russia, Ukraine to hold talks, warns against using nukes
Beijing submits a 12-point paper in light of the war's one-year anniversary, reinstating its position on promoting peace talks.
China reiterated its calls for a political resolution to the war in Ukraine as Beijing comes under increasing pressure from Washington and its allies over its expanding ties with Moscow.
China's Foreign Ministry called for a resumption of peace talks in a newly released position paper on Friday and an end to unilateral sanctions, stressing its opposition to the use of nuclear weapons.
“Conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control,” the paper said.
As the war continues, the 12-point document is seen as Beijing's latest attempt to be a neutral peace broker, as it struggles to balance its "no-limits" friendship with Moscow and fraying relations with the West.
Moreover, Western officials have raised concerns that China may be considering providing Russia with lethal military assistance, an accusation denied by Beijing.
'China prioritizes Ukraine peace talks'
The position paper is mostly a reiteration of China's previous position, which includes an appeal to both parties to resume peace talks. “Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis,” it said, adding that China will play a “constructive role,” without offering details.
The document also read that “the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld."
The paper stated that the "Cold War mentality" should be abandoned, indirectly addressing the United States.
It added, echoing Moscow's view against the West's provocative NATO expansionism, that "the security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly.”
'Beijing criticizes sanctions on Russia'
The paper also appeared to criticize the broad economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries. “Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue; they only create new problems,” it said. “Relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ against other countries, so as to do their share in de-escalating the Ukraine crisis.”
The paper emphasized China's opposition to the use of nuclear weapons, which Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed to Western leaders last year. “Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought. The threat or use of nuclear weapons should be opposed. Nuclear proliferation must be prevented and nuclear crisis avoided,” it said. Additionally, it forbade armed assaults on nuclear power plants or other non-combative facilities.
"It has been nearly a year since the crisis in Ukraine escalated across the board," Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said at a conference on global security in Beijing. Qin called on the "countries concerned to stop adding fuel to the fire as soon as possible, to stop shifting the blame to China."
Beijing would "offer Chinese wisdom for the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, and work with the international community to promote dialogue and consultation, address the concerns of all parties and seek common security," he said.