China, Belarus call for cease-fire, negotiations in Ukraine

China and Belarus called for a cease-fire and negotiations to end the war between Russia and Ukraine as leaders of the two countries meet in Beijing to improve their relations. 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is in the midst of a three-day visit to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and potentially reach an agreement for their countries to cooperate on “key areas.” The visit has rattled some in the United States and other Western allies of Ukraine as China increases its ties to Belarus — which has been one of the only countries in the world to openly stand by Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. 

The two leaders essentially endorsed the 12-point plan for settling the conflict that China revealed last week, which calls for proposals like respecting all countries’ sovereignty, resuming peace talks and effectively protecting civilians to resolve the humanitarian crisis that the war has caused. 

“The core of China’s stance is to call for peace and encourage talks … and for the legitimate security concerns of all countries to be respected,” Chinese state broadcast CCTV quoted Xi as saying. 

CCTV reported that Lukashenko said he “fully agrees with and supports” China’s plan. 

Xi also reportedly called on countries throughout the world to stop using economic conditions to influence what happens in the conflict, an apparent reference to the sanctions that the U.S. and other allies of Ukraine have placed on Russia since the war began. 

The Chinese peace plan also called for an end to “unilateral” sanctions that were not authorized by the United Nations Security Council. The council could place sanctions on a country, but Russia would have the power to veto any sanctions as a permanent member, restricting the council’s ability to act. 

“Relevant countries should stop politicizing and using the world economy as their tool, and take measures that truly advance a cease-fire and stop to war and resolve the crisis peacefully,” Xi said. 

China has officially been neutral throughout the war, but the U.S. has accused Beijing of sending nonlethal aid to Russia and potentially planning to send lethal aid. The Chinese government has denied this, but the U.S. has warned that any lethal aid sent to Russia would be met with consequences. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky indicated at a press conference last week that he is somewhat open to working with China on its proposal. He said he wants to meet with Xi. 

President Biden has criticized the plan as only designed to help Russia, arguing that China negotiating a resolution to the conflict is “not rational.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tags Alexander Lukashenko Alexander Lukashenko Belarus ceasefire China Russia-Ukraine war Volodymyr Zelensky Xi Jinping Xi Jinping

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