China's five-point position on the Ukraine issue
Wang Yi elaborates China's five-point position on the current Ukraine issue
Introduction and Translation by Adam Ni
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a notice in the early hours of February 26 Beijing time stating that State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with representatives from the UK, EU and France on February 25 over the Ukraine issue.
During the calls, Wang Yi elaborated on China's position on the Ukraine issue. Here is a summary of the five points:
- China advocates respecting and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and abiding by the UN Charter.
- Russia's legitimate security appeals should rightfully be taken seriously and appropriately resolved.
- All parties should exercise restraint to avoid the situation from deteriorating further and prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
- China supports all diplomatic efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.
- China would not agree with Security Council resolutions that readily and lightly invoke the authorisation of the use of force and sanctions under Chapter VII.
Below is a quick translation of the notice, which at the time of writing is only available in Chinese. Earlier, Xi and Putin talked about Ukraine over the phone, and we translated both the Chinese and Russian readouts. For a broader context, see our analysis of Beijing's initial response to the outbreak of conflict.
On February 25, 2022, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchanged separate telephone calls with British Foreign Secretary [Elizabeth] Truss, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy [Josep] Borrell and French Presidential adviser [Emmanuel] Bonne focusing on the in-depth exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine. Wang Yi elaborated on China's basic position on the Ukraine issue, which is summarised in the following five points.
- China firmly advocates respecting and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and effectively abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. This position has been consistent and clear; this position is equally applicable to the Ukraine issue.
- China advocates a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable concept of security. It believes that the security of one country cannot be compromised at the expense of the security of other countries. Moreover, regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or indeed expanding military blocs. The reasonable security concerns of all countries should be respected. In light of NATO's five consecutive rounds of eastern expansion, Russia's legitimate security appeals should rightfully be taken seriously and appropriately resolved.
- China has long been concerned about the evolution of the Ukraine issue, and the current situation is something we did not wish to see. It is imperative and urgent that all parties maintain the necessary restraint to avoid the situation in Ukraine from deteriorating or even spinning out of control. The lives and property of civilians should be effectively safeguarded and, in particular, a large-scale humanitarian crisis should be prevented.
- China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine. China welcomes the holding of direct dialogue and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine as soon as possible. The evolution of the Ukraine issue has a complex historical context. Ukraine should be a bridge between the East and the West; it should not be reduced to the forefront of confrontation between major powers. China also supports dialogue on the basis of equality between the European [Union?] side and Russia on European security issues, with a view to eventually form a balanced, effective and sustainable European security regime.
- China believes that the UN Security Council should play a constructive role in resolving the Ukraine issue. In acting, the Security Council should place regional peace and stability and the general security of all countries as its top priority. The Security Council should take actions that would cool down tensions rather than add fuel to the fire, and [its actions] should be conducive to promoting a diplomatic solution rather than further escalating the situation [in Ukraine]. Given this view, China has consistently disagreed with Security Council resolutions that readily and lightly invoke the authorisation of the use of force and sanctions under Chapter VII [of the UN Charter].
Wang Yi said that China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major power, has always faithfully fulfilled its international obligations and played a constructive role in maintaining world peace and stability. On the issue of peace and security, China has the best track record among major powers. [China] has never invaded another country, never engaged in proxy wars, never sought a sphere of influence, and never engaged in military bloc confrontation. China adheres to the path of peaceful development and is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. We will continue to firmly oppose all hegemony and power politics, and firmly safeguard the legitimate and legal rights and interests of the developing countries in general and small and medium-sized developing countries in particular.