China proposes 12 point peace plan for Ukraine

Matthew T Fox

The war in Eastern Europe has been ongoing for a year now, with many developing Eastern nations playing a part. Including, but not limited to Iran, and Belarus. But careful observers will note one major Eastern power missing from this brief list. Namely China, although up to this point, China has had no official stance on the conflict, likely due to the concerns over western sanctions.


However, on the 1st of March, 2023, this has finally changed. With China drafting a 12 point peace plan for Ukraine, although, if you’re one of many hoping for a resoultion to this conflict you are likely to be underwhelmed. Seeing as it’s largely a tool to evade the accusations from the west that China has been a silent friend of Russia. It also serves to build up China’s image to the developing world that they are a “responsible” world power, or a sort of mediator. 


Seeing as the document is kept intentionally very vague, and fails to necessarily bind any of the involved parties to anything. It’s unlikely that this will be a significant development in the overall course of the conflict. With it’s key points being to “Respect the soverignty of all countries” and to “reduce strategic risks”. This treaty puts China in a very peculiar position, with China searching for an axis in the wake of rising tensions over Taiwan, but not wanting to forfeit it’s western trade. 


Although this isn’t the first time China has attempted to maintain this image. During the 2008 Russian Invasion of Georgia (the country, not the state). China was also extremely ambiguous as to their position on the conflict. They also treated the original 2014 Russian intervention in Ukraine with the same mentality. On the first day of the Invasion in 2022, they were intentional in blaming the west, and NATO expansion as the causes of the war. 


This kind of ambigius disposition reflects on China’s conflicting interests, as China has a similar territorial dispute with Taiwan. Yet, much of the Chinese economy depends on exports to the west. Taiwan is also home to the TSMC, or Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Which produces a large quantity of the microprocessors needed in many common pieces of technology, such as laptops, computers, and smartphones. This makes Taiwan a strategic goldmine for China, as controlling that territory would practically put the west at China’s mercy.  On the opposite side of the coin, Russia has been a source of rare materials and advanced weapon systems for China, these weapons systems are the backbone of the Chinese armed forces, and have been for decades.


China is well aware that overt support for Russia would likely incur sanctions on their trade with western companies, which would isolate them strategically and financially. But China equally cannot afford to lose the Russian military imports, as it would grind their military to a halt. This of course would cripple any ambitions that China may have in seizing Taiwan. This strange set of circumstances places China firmly in the middle. With analysts asking what the next move for China will be, and wondering about it’s ramifications.