U.S. Opposes China’s Proposal for Ukraine Ceasefire

The White House rejected Beijing’s offer of a truce in Ukraine ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week and a subsequent phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We would be concerned if this meeting calls for some sort of ceasefire,” Bryant, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, said in an interview with Voice of America on Friday. Recognized what Russia has achieved on the ground.”

FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk to each other during their meeting in Beijing, China, February 4, 2022.

Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov said earlier on Friday that the talks with Xi could lead to a new solution to the war in Ukraine.

“I’m sure our leaders and the Chinese leaders will exchange assessments of the situation there,” he said. “We’ll see what ideas come out after that.”

Bryant said the ceasefire could provide Moscow with the opportunity to prepare for a more effective offensive against Ukraine in the future. He added that a ceasefire at this point “is not in Ukraine’s interests” and “would violate the UN Charter” because it would deprive people of awareness of Russia’s illegal incursions into Ukraine.

Zelensky cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement, saying success would depend on actions rather than words.

Last month, Beijing released a 12-point framework for a political settlement in Ukraine, calling for “direct dialogue as soon as possible” in order to reach a “comprehensive ceasefire”.

The document did not specifically address Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory or security guarantees for Ukraine, nor did it call for a withdrawal of Russian troops.

Chinese Motivation

By proposing a ceasefire, the Chinese appear to be trying to “save something for Putin,” said David Kramer, executive director of the George W. Bush Institute.

“The Russian military is not doing well,” he told VOA. “And we don’t need Chinese intervention right now.”

Not all observers are quick to reject Beijing’s diplomatic overtures. George Beebe, director of grand strategy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said Xi may have a good chance of making peace now that Putin has severed ties with the West and become more reliant on China. The Quincy Institute of National Affairs is a think tank that advocates restraint in U.S. foreign policy.

“He has limited leeway in completely rejecting Chinese participation,” Bibby told VOA.

On the Ukraine side, Bibby noted that while they are not dependent on Beijing, they are aware that China could be an important wild card. If only to prevent Beijing from backing Putin militarily, Zelensky would want to engage Xi Jinping, as this could change the outcome of the war.

Prospects slim

At this point, prospects for a ceasefire acceptable to all belligerents are slim.

Recent polls show that 85 percent of Ukrainians do not think any territorial concessions will be accepted, even if it means a longer war. Kiev has demanded that Russia withdraw from areas it has occupied since its February 2022 invasion and from Crimea, which Putin illegally annexed in 2014.

Meanwhile, James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Moscow would oppose any ceasefire that would require it to withdraw from the newly annexed Ukrainian territory , it is even less likely that Russia will agree to withdraw its troops from Crimea.

“Russia has occupied Crimea since 2014,” Acton told VOA. “This is the crowning achievement of Putin’s rule.”

Even without the prospect of concrete results, the announcement of the meeting with Xi Jinping on the same day that the International Criminal Court announced it wanted to try the Russian leader accused of war crimes provided Putin with a diplomatic boost. help.

ICC President Piotr Hofmanski told VOA that, according to the arrest warrant, if Putin travels to a country that joins the ICC, the country has a legal obligation to arrest him and hand him over to the court.

Growing diplomatic ambitions

Xi Jinping’s planned visit to Moscow is the latest sign of the Chinese leader’s growing diplomatic ambitions after Beijing announced a Beijing-brokered deal that would allow Iran and Saudi Arabia to rebuild diplomatic ties after seven years of hostility .

Moritz Rudolf, a researcher at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center who specializes in the impact of China’s rise on international order and international law, said China is sending signals that it wants to participate in future peace processes .

“Part of that is being seen as an ‘internationally responsible great power,'” he told VOA.

This made Washington very uncomfortable. “I don’t think the U.S. wants China to have a reputation around the world as a peacemaker,”

Bibby said. Bryant insisted that the Biden administration’s opposition to the ceasefire was not because it was proposed by China.

“I’ve made it very clear. It’s about the principle of a ceasefire that’s being called for right now, which is basically just endorsing what Russia has achieved,” he said.

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