China says it will propose peace plan for Ukraine, as chief diplomat refers to conflict as “warfare”


Wang Yi, top foreign policy adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, speaks at the Munich Security Conference on February 18. (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

Xiaofei Xu and Cristiana Moisescu, CNN

CNN– Beijing is ready to present its peace proposition for Ukraine, its top diplomat announced Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, in a rare remark that referred to the Ukraine conflict as a war.

“This warfare can not continue to rage on,” said Wang Yi, top foreign policy adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Territorial and sovereignty integrity of all countries will be respected in China’s proposal, Wang said, adding that Beijing will continue to work for peace.

“We can of course continue to shout out our positions at international conferences like this one, but I suggest that we should also begin to think calmly, especially for my friends in Europe,” he said.

“We need to think about what efforts we can make to bring this warfare to an end,” Wang added.

Some key context: Many European Union leaders in Munich remain wary of Beijing’s intentions, as Wang called on European countries to change their approach to the war.

US Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday said the US was “troubled” by China’s continued support of Russia since the war in Ukraine began.

And European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen told CNN on Saturday: “We need more proof that China isn’t working with Russia, and we aren’t seeing that now.”

China has repeatedly refused to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. In late 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that their partnership was more important than ever in the face of “unprecedented pressure” from the West. Xi echoed Putin’s message of unity, saying that the two countries should “strengthen strategic coordination” and “inject more stability into the world,” according to Chinese state media Xinhua.

In September 2022, Putin conceded Beijing had “questions and concerns” over the invasion, in what appeared to be a veiled admission of diverging views on the war.

China’s top diplomat will also visit Russia this month, according to its foreign ministry, in the first visit to the country from a Chinese official in that role since the war began.