March 4. 2024. 5:40

The Daily

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China calls for ceasefire in Ukraine, urges lifting of sanctions on Russia

China has called for a ceasefire in Ukraine, urging western powers to lift sanctions against Russia and warning Moscow against the use of nuclear weapons.

A 12-point position paper published by the foreign ministry in Beijing on the first anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine says the conflict can only be resolved through negotiation.

“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. All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire,” it said.

China has declared itself to be neutral in the war, neither endorsing nor condemning the invasion but the United States and its allies claim that Beijing is backing Moscow. US secretary of state Anthony Blinken said this week that China is considering supplying lethal military equipment to Russia, a claim Beijing has denied.

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China calls for ceasefire in Ukraine, urges lifting of sanctions on Russia

China calls for  ceasefire in Ukraine, urges lifting of sanctions on Russia

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Friday’s position paper reaffirms China’s stated commitment to respecting the sovereignty, independence and integrity of all countries “big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor”.

But it says that the security of one country must not be pursued at the expense of another, calling for the abandonment of the Cold War mentality.

“Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis. All efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be encouraged and supported. The international community should stay committed to the right approach of promoting talks for peace, help parties to the conflict open the door to a political settlement as soon as possible, and create conditions and platforms for the resumption of negotiation,” it says.

The paper calls for more humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, an exchange of prisoners of war between Kyiv and Moscow and says that nuclear power plants must not be attacked. It warns against the threat of using nuclear weapons as well as their deployment and says chemical and biological weapons must not be developed or used.

China has continued to trade with Russia throughout the war but it has been careful to avoid breaching western sanctions. But the position paper says the western powers’ economic war against Russia is making the conflict worse.

“Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue; they only create new problems. China opposes unilateral sanctions unauthorised by the UN Security Council. Relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ against other countries, so as to do their share in deescalating the Ukraine crisis and create conditions for developing countries to grow their economies and better the lives of their people,” it says.