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Ambassador Dai Qingli contributes an article highlighting the outcomes of President Xi Jinping's visit to Russia and China's position on Ukraine
2023-04-06 07:16

In recent days, ambassador Dai contributed an opinion piece on the Nassau Guardian titled “Chinese wisdom offers hope for resolving the Ukraine conundrum”. The article highlights the important outcomes of President Xi Jinping's recent visit to Russia, and laid out China’s position on and contributions to promoting the political settlement of the Ukraine issue. The article reads as follows:

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Russia was a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace. While leaders of the two countries have maintained regular exchanges for decades, this visit took on added urgency and significance as one of the most destructive wars in decades rages on in Europe.

This visit has once again highlighted China’s fair and balanced approach to the Ukraine crisis. Rather than siding with one party and pouring oil to the flames like some countries do, China has always stood on the side of peace and on the side of dialogue, which we believe is the right side of history.

President Xi reiterated to President Vladimir Putin that China, as always, makes its own independent judgments based on the specific circumstances of a case.

The centerpiece of the visit was to call for peaceful negotiations and political resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As President Xi told President Putin, no armed conflict lasts forever; eventually the parties have to come back to the negotiating table. The greater the difficulties, the more we must give peace a chance; the more intense the conflict, the more we should strive for dialogue.

The two presidents reached important understanding that responsible dialogue represents the best option for the resolution of the crisis. The two leaders appealed for cessation of all actions that prolong the conflict. They also cautioned against the forming of blocs of confrontation and further fanning the flames of war.

The visit marked a major effort in pushing for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict. Its important outcomes demonstrate Chinese diplomacy at its best, guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy.

China’s contributions to resolving the crisis have often been under-appreciated in Western dominated discourse.

China has consistently advocated peaceful resolution. On the very next day of the Ukraine crisis on Feb 25 last year, President Xi spoke with President Putin to encourage peaceful negotiations.

China’s 12-point position paper on political resolution of the Ukrainian issue has been well received by both Russia and Ukraine. The position paper released at the one year anniversary of the conflict called for, among others, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, abandoning the cold-war mentality, promoting ceasefire and peace talks, and putting an end to unilateral sanctions.

Russia expressed its willingness to resume peace talks as early as possible and welcomed China’s positive role as well as the constructive proposals in China’s position paper.

China has every reason to maintain sound relations with Russia, a close neighbor sharing a more than 4,000 kilometer long border and a major economic partner. China’s complicated relationship with the former Soviet Union, whereby a close alliance turned into sharp confrontation, left the two countries determined to build a comprehensive, strategic partnership of coordination, which is neither an alliance, nor confrontational or targeted at any third country.

Rather than seeking to overturn the existing global order, the two countries are jointly committed to instilling greater strategic stability and balance to the world.

China has also maintained constructive dialogue with Ukraine, the latest example of which was China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s phone call with Foreign Minister Kuleba of Ukraine just before President Xi’s visit to Russia. China has also delivered two batches of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

Last but not least, China has refrained from pouring oil to the flames by siding with any party or providing weapons to escalate the war. Had China opted otherwise, the conflict would have escalated beyond imagination. China has also cautioned against any possible use of nuclear weapons in Europe.

China is not alone in its principled position. Most countries in the Global South take a similar stand.

We do not agree with the black-or-white, good vs evil narrative that fills Western airwaves, whereby all the blame is pinned on one party and the responsibilities of other parties are deliberately ignored.

The Ukraine crisis is an avoidable war. It has complicated historical roots and is an cute reflection of the lack of a balanced, functioning and viable European security architecture.

Following the end of the Cold War, Secretary of State James Baker of the United States famously made the “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990. NATO also promised Russia later on that Ukraine would remain neutral.

Yet, NATO expanded eastward five times in the post-Cold War era, pushing its boundary more than 1,000 kilometers toward Russia. Has NATO ever considered the consequences of pushing a major country to a corner?

NATO itself helped to sow the seeds of an old style geopolitical conflict, which has nothing to do with democracy or authoritarianism.

Our world needs a fundamental rethink on the approach to security.

President Xi articulated a global security initiative last year, which calls for comprehensive, common, cooperative, and sustainable security.

The traditional approach of the West to go after absolute security for itself in disregard of the security needs of others is no longer workable. Security shouldn’t be seen as a zero-sum game, still less be pursued unilaterally and through a heavy reliance on the use of force.

China calls for accommodating the legitimate security concerns of all countries and safeguarding the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

We believe security is indivisible from economic development and the security of one indivisible from the security of all. China sees ample room for co-existence and common development on matters of security.

War, which may look like a simple and clear-cut solution, only create more problems then they ever help to resolve. On the other hand, patient negotiations, frustrating as they may be, lead to happy endings. China’s recent diplomatic success in brokering the agreement of Iran and Saudi Arabia to establish diplomatic relations was a case in point.

The Ukraine war is but the latest failure of the West’s approach to security. The Korean nuclear issue is another example. While any act of acquiring nuclear weapons cannot be condoned, the US’ total disregard of the legitimate security needs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has played a significant part in its urge to go nuclear. Furthermore, there have been case after case of the West’s military interventionism leading to unnecessary wars and great pain and suffering for the ordinary people.

Human society now finds itself in a crossroads, either we work with each other to address burning global challenges, or we plunge the world further into divisions, rivalry, conflict and misery.

China rejects the clash of civilizations theory. President Xi recently put forward a global civilization initiative, which seeks to highlight the diversity of cultures and civilizations around the world. We believe the values of peace and development, fairness and justice, democracy and freedom are universal. We stand for mutual respect, greater exchange and mutual learning among different cultures.

Wars and conflicts have no winners. Until the West learns to live with Russia, it’s hard to envision genuine peace in Europe. A united not divided, peaceful not turbulent world is in everyone’s best interests.

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