Ukraine’s leader gives qualified support for China proposals

Ukraine’s leader is giving qualified support for China’s new pronouncements about the war in his country, saying Beijing’s interest is “not bad.” “China has shown its thoughts. I believe that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine is not bad,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at a news conference on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion. “But the question is what follows the words. The question is in the steps and where they will lead to.” China called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Ukraine and Russia in a vaguely worded proposal released Friday that analysts said was unlikely to deliver results. Zelenskyy said there were points in the Chinese proposals that he agreed with “and there are those that we don’t.” “But it’s something,” he added. Beijing claims to have a neutral stance in the war that began one year ago, but has also said it has a “no limits friendship” with Russia and has refused to criticize Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, or even refer to it as an invasion. It has accused the West of provoking the conflict and “fanning the flames” by providing Ukraine with defensive arms. Still, Zelenskyy suggested that China’s help could be useful in trying to isolate Russia. “Our task is to gather everyone to isolate the one,” he said. The plan released by China’s Foreign Ministry mainly reiterated long-held positions, and analysts said Beijing would be an unlikely broker. It calls for the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries” to be respected, but does not say what will happen to the territory Russia has occupied since the invasion. It also calls for an end to “unilateral” sanctions on Russia, indirectly criticizes the expansion of the NATO alliance, and condemns threats of nuclear force. The proposal is “an attempt for public relations on the part of China,” said Li Mingjiang, a professor and international security expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. “I’m not co