Not for all the tea in China

Such was the gist of President Zelensky’s response to China’s 12-point proposal on ending Russia’s bandit raid on the Ukraine.

A friend in need

He didn’t openly question China’s credentials to mediate the conflict, which is understandable. Zelensky is bound by diplomatic protocol and the general presumption of civility among heads of state.

Since I’m bound by no such constraints, I can point out how monumentally unfit communist China is to act as a peacemaker. Before I proceed to the actual 12 points, which range from platitudinous to downright wicked, a few general comments are in order.

Mutatis mutandis, China is Russia’s natural ally, not to say typological twin. Just like Russia, she is ruled by an evil totalitarian regime covered in blood. That creates a moral kinship that transcends short-term economic interests or even foreign policy strategies.

Both countries are parts of what George W. Bush so aptly called the “axis of evil”, although Dubya didn’t include either country into that bloc. And it’s not just the moral aspect of it either.

For ever since the bandit raid started, and I go back to 2014, not 2022, China has supported Putin’s fascist regime politically, by refusing to go along with any UN resolutions condemning Russia’s aggression.

Just a few days ago, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory. Seven countries – Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Syria, Mali, Nicaragua and Eritrea – voted against. (The Russians must be proud of such a select circle of friends.)

Yet China coyly abstained, which didn’t really fool anyone. For all her protestations to the contrary, she remains Russia’s ally and, as such, refuses to support what the Russians would see as defeat.

Fair enough, the United Nations isn’t capable of any other than symbolic gestures, but far be it from me to suggest that symbols don’t matter. Had China come out in support of the resolution, that would have been symbolic too. But the whole geopolitical map would have changed as a result.

Nor is it just moral and political support. China has been using third countries, especially but not exclusively other members of the new axis of evil, to bypass international sanctions on Russia. All sorts of gear that the Russians are incapable of producing themselves follows a meandering route from China straight into Putin’s arsenal.

The Chinese claim their exports to Russia are non-military, but that’s a lie, or at least an evasion. When a country is at war, even a jar of condensed milk has a military application. And let’s not forget that the same electronic components are used in your car’s Satnav and a missile guidance module.

In any case, drones are unquestionably military, and Russia is negotiating with the Chinese company Xian Bingo to buy 100 prototypes of its ZT-180 drones, each capable of carrying a 35-50 kg warhead. Moreover, the company is planning to build a production site in Russia capable of churning out 100 drones a month.

Such is the preamble to China’s proposal, which, amazingly, many people take seriously. By way of introduction, the proposal said something that’s demonstrably untrue: “There are no winners in conflict wars”.

I don’t know exactly what they mean by ‘conflict wars’. Since few wars in history have been conflict-free, I suppose they just mean wars. And most of those end in victory for one side and defeat for the other – unless, of course, the Chinese have in mind some nebulous metaphysical concept of Taoist origin.

To have a war that produces no winner, the Chinese suggest that: “all parties should maintain rationality and restraint … [and we should] support Russia and Ukraine to meet each other, resume direct dialogue as soon as possible, gradually promote the de-escalation and relaxation of the situation, and finally reach a comprehensive ceasefire.”

What follows from that meaningless bien pensant statement is that both sides are equally at fault, and it’s up to both of them to come to an accommodation. But that’s a lie: Russia is the savage unprovoked aggressor in this war, which she has turned into a war of genocide.

How are the Ukrainians supposed to show “rationality and restraint”? By surrendering? Agreeing to trade territory for the kind of ceasefire that will enable the Russians to regroup, rearm and start afresh?

The Chinese started as they meant to go on, mouthing vague ideas that could even remotely make sense only if Point 1 of their proposal said: “Immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops to the pre 2014 borders”.

But we’ve already seen that China doesn’t support any such solution. So what are those famous 12 points?

1. Respecting the sovereignty of all countries. 

Does that mean the Russians leaving? It doesn’t? So it doesn’t mean anything other than an inane banality.

2. Abandoning the Cold War mentality. 

The Cold War was fought between the West and the communist bloc, mostly the Soviet Union. So does that mean the West shouldn’t oppose Russia, that self-declared heir to the USSR?

3. Ceasing hostilities. 

“Conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions…,” explain the Chinese.

How is the Ukraine supposed to exercise restraint? By capitulating? Anything short of that would continue to fan the flames. 

4. Resuming peace talks. 

“Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis… China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.”

President Zelensky has said a thousand times if he has said it once that no negotiations can take place while the Russians continue to occupy parts of the Ukraine. It’s that point missing in the Chinese proposal again. But China’s intention of shoring up her global strategic position by mediating the conflict is clear enough.  

5. Resolving the humanitarian crisis. 

Good idea, and every step in that direction would be welcome. But all such steps would have only minimum significance as long as the Russians continue to bomb Ukrainian cities, murder, torture, loot and rape Ukrainian civilians and in general adhere to the behavioural pattern typical of evil regimes (of which China herself is one).

6. Protecting civilians and prisoners of war (POWs). 

“Parties to the conflict should strictly abide by international humanitarian law, avoid attacking civilians or civilian facilities, protect women, children and other victims of the conflict, and respect the basic rights of POWs. China supports the exchange of POWs between Russia and Ukraine…”

I’m not aware of the Ukraine “attacking civilians or civilian facilities” or jeopardising women and children. Only Russia is doing that, so talking about “parties to the conflict” is another lie. And again China promotes her strategic objectives by volunteering to supervise POW exchange.

7. Keeping nuclear power plants safe. 

Out of interest, which nuclear plants has the Ukraine made unsafe? Yet again China is talking about “both sides”, which is yet another lie.

8. Reducing strategic risks. 

“Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought. China opposes the research, development and use of chemical and biological weapons by any country under any circumstances.”

Is China conducting no such research? She is? Then that’s adding hypocrisy to mendacity. And only one side is capable of using nuclear weapons in the on-going war. So why not say “Russia must not use nuclear weapons in this war. And if she does…”?

9. Facilitating grain exports. 

“The cooperation initiative on global food security proposed by China provides a feasible solution to the global food crisis.”

Yet again China is the world’s saviour. Admittedly, she is an expert on food crises, having created quite a few herself, with millions of victims.

10. Stopping unilateral sanctions.

“Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue; they only create new problems.” That’s the only proposal with any meat to it.

China wants the West to stop all sanctions on Russia, so China wouldn’t have to look for circuitous routes to export war material to her friend. But the Chinese are right: sanctions do create problems – for the aggressor. So let’s stiffen them.

11. Keeping industrial and supply chains stable. 

Do I detect a modicum of self-interest there?

12. Promoting post-conflict reconstruction. 

“The international community needs to take measures to support post-conflict reconstruction in conflict zones. China stands ready to provide assistance and play a constructive role in this endeavour.”

This means China is opposed to any reparations imposed on Russia after the war ends. The Chinese seem to suggest they’ll be happy to underwrite reconstruction, but I’ll have to see it to believe it.

In all likelihood the burden will fall on the West’s shoulders, and it can only be lightened by confiscating all Russian assets held in the West and forcing Russia to make up the deficit out of her coffers.

We mustn’t forget that China is looking to do to Taiwan what Russia is doing to the Ukraine (and what the Chinese themselves are doing to the Uighurs). Every proposal they make about the war is a trial balloon – they test the West’s response trying to gauge its possible reaction to a potential amphibious operation across the Taiwan Strait.

Their 12 points should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve. A war waged by one evil regime shouldn’t be mediated by another.

1 thought on “Not for all the tea in China”

  1. “drones are unquestionably military, and Russia is negotiating with the Chinese company Xian Bingo to buy 100 prototypes of its ZT-180 drones, each capable of carrying a 35-50 kg warhead. ”

    Correct. Even the simplest commercial or hobbyist drone can be converted [or even used without any sort of conversion] to military use.

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