Qin Gang: The Ukraine crisis and its aftermath

China’s Ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, is making persistent efforts to explain to the American public his country’s real position regarding the conflict in Ukraine and to counter disinformation. Below is his article, published on April 18 by The National Interest, a leading US conservative bimonthly International Relations magazine, founded in 1985.

Ambassador Qin notes that: “To end this unwanted conflict as soon as possible is more important than anything else.” He notes that Europe is the focus of the current crisis and the continent needs not only an end to the fighting but also a fundamental answer to the question of securing lasting peace and stability and a balanced and effective security architecture.

Qin Gang contrasts the eastward expansion of NATO, which contributed in no small measure to today’s tragic situation, with the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which framework China has amicably settled all its historic border disputes with Russia and the countries of Central Asia, both of which may be traced to 1996, and notes: “Different choices lead to different outcomes.”

The Ukraine crisis is agonizing. One more minute the conflict lasts means one more hardship for the 43 million Ukrainian people. To end this unwanted conflict as soon as possible is more important than everything else.

China loves peace and opposes war. It advocates upholding international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations and respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine. China supports all efforts that can deliver a ceasefire and relieve the humanitarian crisis on the ground, and will continue to play a constructive role toward this end.

Lessons must be learned. While working to end this conflict, we must also give some serious thought to the changes brought by the crisis and the path forward in its aftermath.

The postwar international system is coming under the heaviest pressure since the Cold War. The once-in-a-century pandemic, the Ukraine crisis and the unparalleled sanctions, the spiraling inflation and a looming recession, all these have sounded the alarm for the “boiler” of the international system. It is high time for us to reduce the pressure, not the other way round, for our shared world.

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Fact sheet: China’s position on the situation in Ukraine

We are pleased to present the following fact sheet about China’s position on the situation in Ukraine, sent to us by the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

The fact sheet debunks the US State Department’s allegations and insinuations that China is fomenting or taking sides in the Ukraine crisis. China consistently works toward peace and stands for negotiated solutions to problems between countries. Furthermore, as the largest trading partner of Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, China’s basic interests demand peace.

China has refused to support the US-led unilateral sanctions against Russia, on the basis that these sanctions are illegal and only serve to increase tensions and prolong the conflict. Meanwhile they are having a serious economic impact on countries around the world, particularly in the Global South, where the rise in prices for food and energy is seriously impacting wellbeing.

The fact sheet points out: “An enduring solution would be for major countries to respect each other, reject the Cold War mentality, refrain from bloc confrontation, and build step by step a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture for the region and for the world. China has been doing its best for peace and will continue to play a constructive role.”

China votes against Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council

We publish here the text of the statement made by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held on April 7th, where the Russian Federation’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council was suspended. In explaining his country’s negative vote, Ambassador Zhang reiterated China’s respect for international humanitarian law and called on all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to protect civilians, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups. Noting that dialogue and negotiation are the only way out, he further noted that the people of the world, especially of the developing countries, are paying a price, for example in soaring food and oil prices, although they are not parties to the conflict.

Consistent with US pressure, the resolution was passed with 93 votes. However 24 countries (including all the socialist countries) voted against, 58 abstained and 18 did not participate in the vote. As only negative votes were counted in this way, the resolution was deemed to have passed with the required two thirds majority. It is, however, a noteworthy fact that a small majority of UN members actually failed to vote in favour of the resolution.

Mr. President,

On the Ukraine issue, China always believes that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, should be respected, that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld, that the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and that all efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis should be supported. Putting an early end to the fight is the urgent expectation of the international community. It is also what China is striving for. China supports all initiatives and measures that will help ease the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We call on the parties concerned to respect international humanitarian law, and take concrete actions to ensure the safety of civilians, and protect the basic rights and humanitarian needs of women, children and other vulnerable groups. The reports and images of civilian deaths in Bucha are disturbing. The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the incident must be verified and established. Any accusations should be based on facts. Before the full picture is clear, all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations.

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Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights racist double standard in the West

In this hard-hitting piece, originally carried on China’s People’s Daily Online, Wu Chaolan exposes the racist double standards inherent in the West’s attitude to conflict in Ukraine compared to those in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has garnered widespread attention across the globe. The wall-to-wall coverage and outpouring of reactions to the Russia-Ukraine conflict from the West has raised eyebrows at its double standard toward other humanitarian crises, which has unsheathed flagrant racist and biased attitudes toward the value of non-white lives that also matter.

CBS News senior correspondent in Kyiv Charlie D’Agata, for instance, has faced a widespread backlash due to his discriminatory comments on the Ukraine crisis: “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen,” he said.

The seasoned correspondent was forced to apologize later, saying he spoke “in a way I regret.” However, his remarks are not part of an isolated incident. Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor David Sakvarelidze spoke to the BBC, suggesting that it is harder for him to watch white people fleeing the conflict.

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Wang Wenbin: NATO serves no other purpose than war

Speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s press conference on March 25, 2022, Spokesperson Wang Wenbin commented on NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia (which was launched 23 years ago) and NATO’s record as an aggressive alliance and product of Cold War.

On March 24 1999, US-led NATO forces blatantly bypassed the UN Security Council and began the 78-day incessant bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a sovereign country, in grave violation of relevant international conventions and basic norms governing international relations. In 12,000 strikes, over 10,000 tonnes of explosives were dropped and more than 3,000 missiles fired, targeting everything from medical facilities to ancient cultural relics, residential buildings and schools. Thousands of innocent civilians including three Chinese journalists were killed. During the bombing campaign, NATO even used depleted uranium bombs prohibited by international conventions, causing long-term damage to Serbia’s environment and people’s health. The people of Serbia will not forget NATO’s aggression, nor will the people of China and the rest of the world.

NATO is convening a summit on Ukraine on the 23rd anniversary of its bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I wonder if the US and other NATO members have asked themselves: What is the root cause of the Ukraine crisis? What responsibility should the US and NATO assume? Before reflecting on their crimes against the people in countries like Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan, the US and NATO have neither right nor authority to judge others. Born out of the Cold War, NATO serves no other purpose than war. It has never contributed to peace and security of our world and will never do so. All those who truly love peace and are committed to advancing peace will resolutely reject NATO’s continued expansion. 

NATO, not China, is to blame for the Ukraine crisis

This combative opinion piece from Global Times addresses the recent comment by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg effectively labelling China as an accomplice in Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. The article recalls NATO’s history of aggression – belying the alliance’s claims to a ‘defensive’ character – and draws the logical conclusion that “this obsolete military organization … should have been dismantled long ago.”

The Ukraine crisis was largely triggered by NATO’s aggressive eastward expansion. The bloc is the culprit. Instead of reflecting on itself, NATO piles pressure on other countries to stand with it against Russia. This is unreasonable and quite sinister.

“China should join the rest of the world in condemning strongly the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law so we call on [China] to clearly condemn the invasion and of course not support Russia. And we are closely monitoring any signs of support from China to Russia.”

NATO is a puppet of the US, a Cold War military bloc manipulated by the US. The obsolete military organization has launched many ruthless military aggressions and triggered corresponding disasters in which local people underwent great suffering. NATO’s aerial bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 during the Kosovo War is one example. 

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Ambassador Qin Gang: Where China stands regarding Ukraine

In this important article, originally published as an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Qin Gang, China’s Ambassador to the US and one of his country’s most skilled and experienced diplomats, sets out Beijing’s principled position on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine for the American public and refutes a number of misconceptions being spread in that regard. Most importantly, he makes it crystal clear that:

Assertions that China knew about, acquiesced to or tacitly supported this war are purely disinformation. All these claims serve only the purpose of shifting blame to and slinging mud at China. There were more than 6,000 Chinese citizens in Ukraine. China is the biggest trading partner of both Russia and Ukraine, and the largest importer of crude oil and natural gas in the world. Conflict between Russia and Ukraine does no good for China. Had China known about the imminent crisis, we would have tried our best to prevent it.

Many Americans are understandably trying to understand where China stands as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds, so I want to take this opportunity to explain fully and dispel any misunderstandings and rumors.

There have been claims that China had prior knowledge of Russia’s military action and demanded Russia delay it until the Winter Olympics concluded. Recent rumors further claimed that Russia was seeking military assistance from China. Let me say this responsibly: Assertions that China knew about, acquiesced to or tacitly supported this war are purely disinformation. All these claims serve only the purpose of shifting blame to and slinging mud at China. There were more than 6,000 Chinese citizens in Ukraine. China is the biggest trading partner of both Russia and Ukraine, and the largest importer of crude oil and natural gas in the world. Conflict between Russia and Ukraine does no good for China. Had China known about the imminent crisis, we would have tried our best to prevent it.

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Ben Norton, Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez discuss China-Latin America relations

In this stream recorded on 10 March 2022, Ben Norton, Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez discuss a number of issues: the evolving relationship between China and Latin America; the motivation for our forthcoming event 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline; the connection between multipolarity and socialism; the unfolding crisis in Ukraine; and Russia’s role in an increasingly multipolar world.

Explaining China’s abstention on the UN General Assembly resolution regarding Ukraine

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.”

Mr. President,

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.

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China clarifies neutral stance on Ukraine crisis

We are pleased to republish this important article from Global Times, which provides a detailed exposition of what it describes as China’s “neutral stance” in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and refutes some of the key misrepresentations of the Chinese position. It also analyses the motives of the Western powers in the current crisis and the evolution of their positions as events unfold, including the changing dynamic in relations between Europe and the United States.

Although the US and some other Western countries are trying to handle the current situation in Ukraine with waves of sanctions against Russia and questioning Beijing’s neutral stance, China has once again clarified its neutrality and the reason to the EU, France, Germany and the UK as to why it opposes sanctions ahead of the UN Emergency Special Session on Sunday.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had phone conversations with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, French Diplomatic Advisor to the President Emmanuel Bonne and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock from Friday to Saturday, according to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday. 

They had in-depth exchanges of views with a focus on the situation in Ukraine, while Wang expounded China’s basic position on the Ukraine issue. Wang stressed that “China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis. China welcomes the earliest possible direct dialogue and negotiation between Russia and Ukraine.”

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Chinese Ambassador to UN calls for diplomatic solution to Ukraine crisis

In the speech below, Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, explains China’s decision to abstain on the UN Security Council draft resolution demanding Russia’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine. Zhang stated that “any action should be truly conducive to defusing the crisis, rather than adding fuel to fire.”