The conflict has grown increasingly “unpredictable” since fighting broke out last year, Beijing has warned FILE PHOTO: China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Geng Shuang, speaks during a Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, June 23, 2023. © AP / Yuki Iwamura

Only a political settlement can resolve the conflict in Ukraine, China’s deputy UN envoy has said, urging the international community to seek a peaceful end to the crisis after Beijing advanced its own plan to halt the fighting.

Speaking at an open meeting on Ukraine at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday, Beijing’s deputy permanent UN representative, Geng Shuang, proposed a four-point framework for future peace efforts, saying the global body should “work together to prevent the situation from getting out of control.”

“The evolution of the battlefield situation shows that military means cannot resolve the Ukrainian crisis, and the continuation of the conflict will only bring more suffering to civilians, and may even lead to unpredictable and irreparable situations,” he said. “No matter how long the crisis lasts, it will eventually be resolved through political means.”

The Chinese framework calls for talks between Moscow and Kiev, limiting the potential “spillover effects of the crisis,” addressing humanitarian issues, and guaranteeing “nuclear safety and security” – in particular at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant.

China supports Africa’s peace plan for Ukraine China supports Africa’s peace plan for Ukraine

The deputy UN envoy went on to argue that any solution to the conflict must “uphold a common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security concept.” Though he did not cite the NATO alliance by name, the official said the Ukraine crisis erupted last year thanks to “expanding military blocs,” which “can only bring turmoil and unrest to Europe and the entire world.”

Early this year, China unveiled a 12-point roadmap designed to end the fighting, calling for the resumption of talks and arguing that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations should be upheld. The Chinese government has previously slammed the unilateral sanctions on Moscow, and argued that NATO expansion in Europe is the root of the conflict in Ukraine.

The initiative received a positive reception in Moscow, with senior officials in the Kremlin signaling willingness to discuss it further. However, the proposal was soon rejected by Kiev and some of its Western backers, who accused Beijing of supporting Russia’s interests.