What follows is an explanation by Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, of China’s abstention on the UN General Assembly resolution regarding Ukraine on 1 March.
This explanation was supplemented by Wang Wenbin, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference on 3 March 2022, who noted the escalating sanctions regime being installed by the US and its allies against Russia, observing that the US also had an important hand in creating the crisis: “International media lately mentioned many times that George Kennan, former US ambassador to the Soviet Union, suggested to the US government in 1990s that expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders would be the most fateful error. Regrettably, the US government turned a deaf ear to this. Tulsi Gabbard, former member of the House of Representatives, said that the crisis could have been ended and the war easily avoided if President Biden had simply promised not to accept Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO. But they chose not to do so. Those who created the problem should be the ones to undo it. We hope the culprits of the crisis can take real action to ease the situation and resolve the problem instead of shifting the blame to others.”
There continues to be dramatic changes of the situation in Ukraine. What is now unfolding is indeed heart-wrenching. China’s basic position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and unequivocal. We always believe that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected, and that international disputes should be resolved peacefully in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The top priority right now is to ease the situation on the ground as much as possible, and prevent the situation from escalating or even getting out of control. Russia and Ukraine have already held their first round of negotiations. Despite their differences, both sides have shown their willingness to continue the negotiations. China welcomes this. Faced with the highly complex and sensitive situation, China once again calls on the international community to stick to the overall direction of political settlement and foster an enabling atmosphere and conditions for direct dialogues and negotiations between the parties concerned.
Any action by the UN and the relevant parties should give priority to regional peace and stability and the universal security of all parties, and should play a positive role for de-escalation and diplomatic solutions. Regrettably, the draft resolution submitted to this emergency special session for vote has not undergone full consultations within the whole membership. Nor does it take full consideration the history and complexity of the current crisis. It does not highlight the importance of the principle of indivisible security, or the urgency of promoting political settlement and stepping up diplomatic efforts. These are not in line with China’s consistent positions. Therefore we had no choice but to abstain in the voting.
The final settlement of the Ukraine crisis requires abandoning the Cold War mentality, abandoning the logic of ensuring one’s own security at the expense of others’ security, and abandoning the approach of seeking regional security by expanding military blocs. It is important to give full attention and respect to the legitimate security concerns of all countries, and on that basis conduct negotiations to put in place a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism. Blindly exerting pressure and imposing sanctions and creating division and confrontation will only further complicate the situation, and result in a rapid negative spillover of the crisis, and affect even more countries. We call on the international community to take a responsible attitude, and promote the relevant parties to immediately return to the track of political settlement, and use dialogue and consultation to seek a comprehensive solution to the Ukraine issue. China is ready to continue its constructive role in this regard.
Thank you, Mr. President.