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China calls for ceasefire in Ukraine

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng claims in his speech at the 78th session of the UNGA that peace talks are the “only way” to end the war in Ukraine.

Cessation of hostilities and the resumption of peace talks is the only way to settle the Ukraine crisis.

China has positioned itself as a peacemaker and neutral arbiter in the conflict, although it has refused to condemn Moscow for military actions. In February this year, Beijing published a position paper outlining how to end the conflict. However, the proposals did not meet with a proper reaction from either Moscow or Kyiv.

China, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, wants to “continue to play a constructive role”, Han said without going into details.

Visiting Moscow this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that China would advocate an impartial stance on Ukraine, trying to find a political solution to the conflict.

However, Beijing’s efforts have been met with scepticism amid its deepening ties with Moscow. In March, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow and toasted a “new era” of co-operation. Putin, in turn, accepted an invitation to visit China next month.

Han, a second-tier official, reaffirmed China’s vision of an alternative world order free from “Western hegemony” in his speech at the UNGA. Addressing the world’s developing countries, he claimed that China, the world’s second largest economy, positioned itself as part of the Global South.

As the largest developing country, China is a natural member of the Global South. It breathes the same breath with other developing countries and shares the same future with them.

The vague term “Global South”, which is usually used to refer to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, was often used at the UN this year.

China has asserted itself as a leader of the developing world, centred on Xi Jinping’s about decade-long Belt and Road Initiative. The project is designed to boost Chinese development, infrastructure and influence mainly in developing countries.

China is the second largest economy in the world after the United States with a GDP of $18 trillion.

Xi Jinping, one of the four leaders of the permanent members of the Security Council, did not attend the meeting this year.

French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Russian President Vladimir Putin also missed the event, making US President Joe Biden the only leader to address the assembly.

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