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Xi, like minds advance peace-making efforts

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-22 07:46
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Civilians evacuate from the humanitarian corridors in opened in Kyiv, March 11, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Standing behind the peace talks, controlling the humanitarian crisis and avoiding a greater impact on the global economy, a number of developing countries have echoed China's stance on these topics of common concern as they discussed the Ukraine crisis in diplomatic circles.

As led by President Xi Jinping, China, alongside a number of nations from Asia, Africa and South America, want to make sure that "give peace a chance" does not end up as an empty slogan, officials and experts said.

Since the outbreak of the crisis, Xi has talked to the leaders of a number of countries separately by telephone or video link and discussed the Ukraine situation.

"The comments and all the diplomacy efforts made by Xi fully display the broad vision and strong sense of duty that a major country should have, and this is exactly what a major country is expected to be doing," said Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies' Department of American Studies.

Su highlighted a telephone conversation Xi had with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.

During their talk, both leaders voiced support for Russia and Ukraine keeping up the momentum of their peace talks, and they agreed that sovereign countries are entitled to independently decide on their own positions.

"In contrast to the bloc confrontation and unilateral sanctions sought by US-led Western countries in the Ukraine crisis, China and many other developing countries hold their own views and positions, comprising a vast 'middle zone'," Su said.

As many "middle zone" countries call for the success of a cease-fire via peace talks and offer humanitarian aid instead of weapons, they stand in sharp contrast to some Western countries' forcing of other nations to take sides, and "the global community is crystal clear about which pattern will be helpful to eventually resolving the crisis", Su said.

On March 2, 35 countries-including Algeria, China, South Africa and Mongolia-abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution on Ukraine.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra told State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a meeting on Sunday that their two countries' abstention sent a clear signal that they hope to maintain independence and are willing to give peace a chance.

Algeria believes that China's proposition, based on international fairness and justice and aimed at promoting peace, stability and security, represents a correct and broad path, he said.

Wang told reporters after the meeting that the majority of countries in the world, including China and other developing countries, "share reasonable concerns and hold similar positions".

No country should be forced to choose sides, and when dealing with complex issues and divergent views, one should not opt for the simplistic approach of "friend or foe" and "black or white", Wang said.

Xu Yicong, a researcher at the China Foundation for International Studies and a former Chinese ambassador to Cuba, said, "As many countries have discussed the situation and made constructive proposals, their ideas deserve equal opportunity to be known by more people."

Independent roles

Indonesia holds the chairmanship of this year's G20 Leaders' Summit. In an interview with Japan's Nikkei newspaper this month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for a cease-fire in Ukraine and said continued dialogue rather than economic sanctions on Russia is the way to resolve the crisis.

"US-led Western countries should realize that many major emerging economies-such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa-are highly self-reliant in shaping their own strategy," said Zhu Jiejin, a professor of global governance studies at Fudan University's School of International Relations and Public Affairs.

"These countries do not easily take sides between the US and Russia in the crisis. They take the world's bigger picture into consideration and act on their own interests. They know even the so-called unprecedented sanctions will not lead to peace," Zhu added.

A number of Middle East countries have refused to take sides on the Ukraine situation as well, leading to complaints or concerns from some US officials and policy researchers.

The Washington Institute think tank said in a policy analysis this month that "many nations in the Middle East are keen on balancing their relationships with the United States and Russia".

Xue Qingguo, a professor of Arab studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, noted that many Gulf nations view the crisis differently from the US and its allies.

"The majority of Middle East countries' governments and public subscribe to neutrality and not taking sides, and China's stance on the situation is winning more support there," Xue said.

Xue noted that in addition to the Middle East, most African, Southeast Asian and South American countries have not followed up on the sanctions pushed by US-led Western countries.

"The voice of the vast number of developing countries should be given a higher profile, which is also giving peace a chance. And the overwhelming global support to sanctioning Russia, as portrayed by the media outlets of the US and some of its allies, is actually something false and overblown," Xue said.

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