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Thursday June 01, 2023

Well done, China

March 24, 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his significant visit to Russia, had a three-hour long meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. In recent days, China has played a leading role in restoring diplomatic relations between two staunchly opposed countries, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

For the last few decades, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been seen as two ideological poles in the Islamic world that are in tussle with each other on every front. In my view, the presence of the Chinese foreign minister as a guarantor is a testament to China’s remarkable diplomatic success.

Even before the visit of the Chinese president to Russia, there were speculations in the world media that China is now all set to ensure a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine. Some international analysts believe that the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is in fact linked with the once cold war between the Soviet bloc and the Western bloc led by the United States in the previous century. Interestingly, Nato was established by Western countries to resist the expansionist ambitions of the Soviet Union. Reportedly, Ukraine’s desire to join Nato was seen as a threat to Russia, which ultimately resulted in declaring a full-fledged war against the former Soviet state.

One year of the Ukraine war has passed, but neither is Russia in a position to claim complete victory over Ukraine, nor have Nati and Western countries come forward to save the war-torn country. In such circumstances, if any third country seems serious about a ceasefire, it is China, which already has strong influence due to international trade and economic cooperation. Today, China’s cordial ties with Russia and Ukraine make China an acceptable mediator.

Before the Chinese president’s visit to Moscow, a special column of Putin was published in the Chinese newspaper 'People's Daily', in which he criticized the role of Nato in the region and highlighted the importance of bilateral relations with China. According to the Russian president, Russia and China are mutually combating the nefarious aims of some countries seeking hegemony and supremacy. Moreover, the Russian president in his article also indicated his readiness for serious negotiations on the Ukraine issue.

Similarly, Ukraine, in response to the Chinese president’s visit to Moscow, has also formally demanded China play its role in establishing a ceasefire. According to the Ukraine government, Ukraine is ready for dialogue in accordance with the UN Charter and the latest resolution passed in the General Assembly to establish peace.

In my view, the main reason for China’s growing international influence is to promote economic cooperation as a topmost priority. Chinese authorities declare Taiwan a rebel province but also issue special permits for Taiwanese citizens for trade purposes. China used to oppose the US on global issues but never allowed differences to affect bilateral trade. Although China is heavily investing in Pakistan under the CPEC mega project, India is still one of its biggest trade partners in the region.

Today, if Chinese involvement results in a new breakthrough by bringing a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine, it will reflect the fact that China is going to officially start its era as a new superpower of the 21st century. Unlike the superpowers of the past, China is winning this unique recognition not because of weapons or military power, but due to making peace efforts for arranging constructive and fruitful dialogue between countries with differences.

History is witness that in the past only those world powers deserved a good name who ensured peace and influence positively for the sake of the people. It should be hoped that the visit of the Chinese president to Moscow will pave the way for a Russia-Ukraine ceasefire on a permanent basis and world countries will understand the importance of resolving conflicts through dialogue. Well done, China!

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets @RVankwani