- China announced plans for a peace proposal for the war in Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference.
- Some world leaders and diplomats were skeptical, calling the plans “vague.”
- Vice President Kamala Harris said the US is “troubled” by Beijing’s relationship with Moscow.
China announced plans to unveil a peace proposal for the war in Ukraine on Saturday, but many world leaders approached the plan with caution as the country still refuses to directly condemn Russia.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, China’s foreign affairs chief Wang Yi told the conference that while China was “not directly concerned in the conflict, but was not standing idly by.”
Wang said that China would reveal a solution for peace in the region — which highlights the importance of “the sovereignty of all countries” — on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
In his speech on Saturday, Wang criticized the US, saying Washington’s reaction to Chinese balloons over US airspace was “near-hysterical,” according to Politico.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke after Wang on Saturday, responding that the US is “troubled that Beijing has deepened its relationship with Moscow since the war began” and expressed concerns about China providing lethal weapons to the country, the Associated Press reported.
Other leaders also questioned whether China would actually be able to distance itself from Russia and were wary of the broad principles and undefined details of the announcement. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, called China’s peace plan “quite vague.”
“China has not been able to condemn the invasion,” he said.
Others in attendance had some hope, however, that the plan could eventually lead to some progress in the conflict. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said that Beijing could be a helpful ally in ending the invasion.
“We believe that compliance with the principle of territorial integrity is China’s fundamental interest in the international arena,” Kuleba told journalists in Germany.
Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, also welcomed China’s plan. “As a permanent member of the UN security council, China has an obligation to use its influence to secure world peace,” she said.
Baerbock told reporters she and Wang had “talked intensively” on Friday about the meaning of peace, The Guardian reported, which included “not rewarding the attacker, the aggressor, but standing up for international law and for those who have been attacked.”
The year-long deadly conflict in Ukraine dominated discussions at the security conference that ends on Sunday. On Saturday, the US announced it determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity in a war that has been marked by thousands of civilian casualties.