HomeAttacks on U.S.China's Peace Plan Locks in Russian Gains, Has Bought Hungary's Vote

China’s Peace Plan Locks in Russian Gains, Has Bought Hungary’s Vote

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China’s recent peace proposal for the Ukraine conflict has sparked significant debate. While touted as a neutral mediator, the nuances of Beijing’s plan suggest a tilt toward consolidating Russian territorial acquisitions rather than fostering genuine peace. This strategic move by China has not only caused ripples across diplomatic circles but has also found an unexpected endorsement from Hungary, a NATO ally, raising eyebrows across Europe and beyond.

China’s 12-point peace plan, introduced on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, includes several points that superficially align with peacekeeping principles like protection of civilians and avoiding nuclear escalation. However, critics argue that the proposal conspicuously lacks mechanisms to reverse Russian gains or address the violations of international law resulting from Moscow’s aggression. This omission is seen by many as a tacit approval of the status quo, which leans heavily in favor of Russian interests.

Foreign policy experts point out that the plan calls for the cessation of hostilities and unilateral sanctions, which, while sounding equitable, essentially locks in Russian territorial advances by discouraging further Ukrainian resistance. Furthermore, the proposal emphasizes dialogue and negotiation, yet there’s a conspicuous absence of any framework that compels Russia to relinquish occupied territories, essentially proposing a ‘freeze’ on the conflict that benefits Russia at Ukraine’s expense.

Hungary’s Endorsement Bought by Trade Agreements

The endorsement of China’s plan by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán isn’t merely a diplomatic gesture but a calculated move influenced heavily by economic incentives. Hungary, under Orbán’s administration, has increasingly pivoted towards Russia and China, distancing itself from the collective stance of the European Union and even its obligations as a NATO member.

Orbán’s support for the Chinese peace initiative comes on the heels of a significant deepening of economic ties between Hungary and China. During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Budapest, the two nations heralded a new era of “all-weather” friendship, underpinned by extensive trade agreements and investment pledges. As part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Hungary has signed up to 17 major deals encompassing sectors from nuclear energy to finance, which promise to inject substantial Chinese investment into the Hungarian economy.

These agreements are not just economic transactions but strategic levers used by Beijing to secure political alignment from smaller nations within the EU and NATO. By bolstering Hungary’s economy, China secures a vocal advocate within European forums, thereby fracturing EU unity and diluting the collective response to global issues like the Ukraine crisis. Orbán’s outright support for the peace plan, thus, appears less as an independent diplomatic stance and more as a quid pro quo for economic benefits provided by Beijing.

China’s support for Russia is obvious, noted many times. It is not surprising they would support a peace plan that locks in Russian gains, given the ever deepening economic and military ties. While Orban has been outspoken, it is a bit of a surprise that he would support China so openly with the effect of opposing longstanding NATO policies. But then again, those of us who are following the Russia-Ukraine war know that, short of a risk of World War III, Russia is never going to give back the secure access to its only warm water military base. So in this respect, Orban is correct and he just as well get whatever he can out of it.

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