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OPINION                                                                  JUNE 09, 2023  |    The Indian Eye 10

                 Assessing China’s Role as a

         Mediator in the Russia-Ukraine

                                    Conflict and Crisis

                        The divisions within EU and between EU and the US over China are also apparent.
          Reportedly, Brussels is struggling to forge a consensus approach on China as some countries are inclined to

                                             engage with Beijing over trade and Ukraine crisis


              t the onset of the Ukraine cri-
              sis, China followed a cautious
        Aapproach and highlighted its
        ‘principled  neutrality’.  China  not-
        ed that it was not a party to the war
        and beyond calls for dialogue and
        restraint,  it  did  not  expend  much
        diplomatic  effort.  However,  in  the
        last few months, China has appeared
        interested in playing a major role as
        a mediator in the Ukraine crisis.

        For  instance,  on  the  date  of
        the first-year anniversary of the

        conflict, China published a doc-
        ument titled ‘China’s Position
        on the Political Settlement of
        the Ukraine Crisis’ which high-

        lighted 12 points to achieve
        ceasefire between Russia and
        Ukraine.                          President Xi Jinping in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, emphasized his interest to promote a political solution for the Ukraine crisis (File photo)

                                          the international strategic communi-  the complex historical context and   both as a challenge and opportunity
            Further, during his visit to Mos-
        cow on 21 March 2023, President Xi   ty  about  China’s  perception  of  the   maintained that Cold War mentality   for China’s strategic interests.
                                                                            should be completely abandoned.
                                                                                                                  One of the major challenges
                                          Ukraine crisis and its possible role
        Jinping in a meeting with President   as a mediator.                    These remarks referring to ex-  China envisaged was portrayal of its
        Vladimir  Putin,  emphasized  his  in-  In February 2022, when Russia’s   tended Cold War rivalry between   image as a collaborator because the
        terest to promote a political solu-  military  campaign  against  Ukraine   the West and Russia were reiterated   military operation followed a few
        tion  for  the  Ukraine  crisis.  Earlier   began,  Beijing  perceived  the  war   multiple times in public statements   weeks  after  China’s  declaration  of
        in April, during a meeting with the   primarily through the lens of major   by  Chinese  officials  and  leaders  to   ‘no-limit’  partnership  with  Russia.
        visiting French President Emmanu-  power  rivalry  and  China’s  national   emphasize that as the Ukraine con-  Further,  Beijing  assessed  that  the
        el Macron, Xi proposed that China   interest. For instance, then Foreign   flict is essentially a contest between   war will strengthen and revive the
        and France should push for a polit-  Minister Wang Yi’s comments during   the West and Russia, it is not com-  Trans-Atlantic  alliance,  deepen  the
        ical solution of the crisis. More im-  the  start  of  the  conflict  indicated   parable  to  the  Taiwan  situation,   West’s resolve to contain China and
        portantly, for the first time since the   that Beijing saw the armed conflict   which China considers as an inter-  strain her relations with the US and
        beginning  of  the  Ukraine  crisis,  Xi   as manifestation of a long-standing   nal matter. Also, it was emphasized   the EU in the long-run. However, it
        Jinping spoke to the Ukrainian Pres-  political rivalry  between  West and   that China will not be dragged into   was also believed that China might
        ident Volodymr Zelensky informing   Russia. In his talks with Russian For-  major  power  contestation.  Besides   gain as the war could become a dis-
        him that China’s “core stance is to   eign  Minister  Sergei  Lavrov,  Wang   focusing  on  the  rivalry  dimension,   traction for the US and its European
        facilitate talks for peace”. These ac-  Yi remarked that China recognized   the Chinese leadership saw the crisis   Continued on next page... >>
        tions have revived discussions among

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