China has called for peace talks in the war in Ukraine. However, in his appeal today in Beijing, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang also called for the “legitimate security interests of all parties to be respected” – a phrase that China usually uses to make clear its backing for the Russian position.

The conflict is essentially “an outbreak of problems” in the security architecture in Europe, Qin Gang told the press on the occasion of the current annual meeting of the People’s Congress. “China did not create the crisis. It is not a party in the crisis and has not supplied weapons to either side,” Qin Gang said.

“Why on earth should China be blamed or even sanctioned or threatened? That is completely unacceptable,” said Qin Gang, also responding to warnings from the United States and Europe to China to supply weapons to Russia.

Position paper disappoints critics

In its position paper on the Ukraine war presented in February, China advocated respect for sovereignty, the end of a Cold War mentality, a ceasefire and the resumption of peace negotiations.

However, the position paper had often caused international disappointment because, according to critics, it showed no serious initiative to end the war and, for example, did not provide for the withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied areas in Ukraine.

It is unfortunate that efforts for peace talks have been repeatedly undermined, Qin Gang said. “There appears to be an invisible hand urging a drag and escalation of the conflict, using the Ukraine crisis to advance a specific geopolitical agenda.”

“What is needed now is calm, reason and dialogue”

The crisis is at a crossroads. “Either hostilities cease, peace is restored and the process of a peaceful settlement begins – or more fuel is added to the fire and the crisis widens and spirals out of control,” Qin Gang said. “Conflict, sanctions and pressure will not solve the problem. What is needed now is calm, reason and dialogue.”

He praised China-Russia relations as a “model for new international relations”. Some countries looked at the relationship through Cold War lenses. However, Qin Gang asserted that the relations are not an alliance and are not directed confrontationally against third parties. “The more turbulent the world is, the more steadily Russian-Chinese relations should advance.”

Warning towards USA

In addition, Qin Gang warned the United States against further straining the tense relationship with provocations. If the United States “doesn’t step on the brakes and continue to follow the wrong path,” even crash barriers could no longer stop a derailment. Then there would certainly be “conflicts and confrontations,” said the diplomat, and warned of “catastrophic consequences.”

According to Qin Gang, the US sees China as its main adversary and as the most serious geopolitical challenge. The consequence of this assumption is that the Americans’ China policy has completely strayed from the “rational path”. Although Washington speaks of competition, in reality it wants to suppress China in all areas.

More “autonomy” of the Europeans desired

China hopes that Europeans will gain more independence from the United States. Qin Gang courted the European Union, which always regards China as a “comprehensive strategic partner”.

“We hope that Europe, which has endured the suffering of the war in Ukraine, will learn from its pain and achieve true strategic autonomy and long-term stability,” Gang said. In doing so, he indirectly expressed his desire for the Europeans to distance themselves from the Americans, who accuse China of dominance.

China wants to work with the European side “to adhere to true multilateralism, mutual respect and cooperation for the benefit of both”. By strengthening the China-EU partnership, the world can be injected with more stability, certainty and positive energy.