Blinken Calls on UN to Unite Behind Ukraine, Downplays China’s Peace Plan

Jason Perry
By Jason Perry
February 24, 2023International

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the international community to resist normalizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crimes in the ongoing war against Ukraine, while also downplaying Beijing’s proposal to end the conflict.

Speaking at the United Nations Security Council on Friday—the anniversary of Russia’s invasion—Blinken stressed the need for member nations to uphold the basic principles of international order, including respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, and not targeting civilians in war.

“Many countries will call for peace today,” he said, appearing to allude to China’s peace proposal released on Friday. “History teaches us that it’s the nature of peace that matters.”

The proposal, originating from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, lists 12 steps aimed at pulling the warring Eastern European nations back to the negotiating table and steering the globe away from nuclear brinkmanship. While vague, the suggested plan appears to back Ukraine’s claim to its occupied eastern regions. 

“The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld,” said point number one. “All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community.”

In a possible message to the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance, the proposal advised countries to abandon the “Cold War mentality” and not to pursue “one’s own security at the cost of others’ security.” 

The Chinese Communist Party has long criticized NATO expansion, having issued a joint statement with Russia weeks before the war that opposed the “further enlargement of NATO” and likened it to an outdated Cold War ideology.

NTD Photo
Chinese leader Xi Jinping (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) pose during their meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Sept. 15, 2022. (Alexandr Demyanchuk/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Beijing’s plans lists several other suggestions, including the facilitation of grain exports to and from conflict zones, protecting nuclear power plants, and ending unilateral sanctions by foreign powers.

Blinken appeared critical of the plan, saying countries “should not fall into the false equivalency of calling on both sides to stop fighting.”

A point of China-U.S. alignment emerged when the secretary said the United States is “prepared to engage in any meaningful diplomatic effort to stop Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.” However, the Biden administration has erected barriers and conditions to diplomacy.

When asked whether Biden would be willing to negotiate one-on-one with Putin, Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told The Epoch Times during a Department of Defense briefing on Wednesday that “singular conversations with Russia” were off the table. 

“It is Ukraine who is the most impacted. It is Ukraine’s civilians who are being killed on the battlefield,” she said. “Ukraine has every right to be part of every conversation.”

Blinken concluded his speech by telling the story of a 10-year-old Ukrainian girl whose family had been killed during a Russian shelling. The girl, Veronika, was rescued from a pile of rubble with shrapnel lodged in her skull.

To prevent more horrific instances like this from occurring, he called on the UN member countries to live up to the international organization’s founding creed.

“‘We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scores of war,’ that’s how the UN charter begins,” said Blinken. “Now is the time to meet that promise.”

Critics argue that continued western military support for Ukraine lengthens the bloody conflict and reduces Kyiv’s incentive to negotiate.