Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during the 2023 Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2023 in Munich, Germany. (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
- China announced a peace proposal on the war in Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference.
- Some world leaders and diplomats were skeptical, calling the plans “vague”.
- Vice President Kamala Harris said the US is “concerned” about Beijing’s relationship with Moscow.
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China announced plans on Saturday to make a peace offer over the war in Ukraine, but many world leaders approached the plan with caution as the country still refuses to directly condemn Russia.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the conference that while China is “not directly concerned about the conflict, it is not sitting idly by.”
Wang said China would unveil a regional peace solution that emphasizes the importance of “the sovereignty of all countries” on February 24, the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some politicians and diplomats had reservations about China’s motives, given the country’s recent alliances with Vladimir Putin’s regime, as well as the recent spy balloon controversy.
In a speech on Saturday, Wang criticized the U.S., saying Washington’s response to Chinese balloons flying over U.S. airspace was “almost hysterical,” according to Politico.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke after Wang on Saturday, responding that the US was “concerned that Beijing has deepened its relationship with Moscow since the start of the war” and raised concerns about China’s provision of lethal weapons to the country, the Associated Press reported. the
Other leaders also questioned whether China would actually be able to disengage from Russia and were wary of the statement’s broad principles and undefined details. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called China’s peace plan “rather vague.”
“China failed to condemn the invasion,” he said.
Others who attended hoped, however, that the plan could eventually lead to some progress in the conflict. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that Beijing could be a useful ally to stop the invasion.
“We believe that maintaining the principle of territorial integrity is China’s fundamental interest in the international arena,” Kuleba told reporters in Germany.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also welcomed China’s plan. “As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is obliged to use its influence to ensure world peace,” he said.
Baerbock told reporters that he and Wang “discussed intensively” on Friday about the meaning of peace, The Guardian reported, which includes “not rewarding the aggressor, the aggressor, but protecting international law and those who have been attacked.” :
The deadly year-long conflict in Ukraine dominated discussions at the security conference, which ends on Sunday. The United States announced on Saturday that it had determined that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in a war that has killed thousands of civilians.