fredag 14. juni 2024

Alexander Gabuev: Why China Is Sabotaging Ukraine. Beijing Has No Interest in a Peace Agreement It Can’t Help Broker

For a moment last August, it seemed that Beijing was finally ready to distance itself from its “no limits partnership” with Moscow. That month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping sent his special envoy for the war in Ukraine, Li Hui, to discuss Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace formula with diplomats from several countries, including Ukraine and the United States. The formula calls for Russia to withdraw to Ukraine’s 1991 borders, send its war criminals to international tribunals, and pay reparations to Kyiv. The plan clearly represents Kyiv’s favored conclusion to the conflict, and merely by engaging with it, Beijing suggested that it might be ready to play hardball with Moscow.

But China’s first public participation in discussions about that formula was also its last. On May 31, Beijing announced that it would not be joining some 90 other countries at a June 15–16 peace summit in Switzerland to debate, based on Zelensky’s proposal, how to end the war. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, explained that Beijing would attend the summit only if Russia were a participant and if any plan presented would receive a hearing. For Ukraine, both requirements are nonstarters.