Ukraine-Russia war: China's special Ukraine envoy Li Hui, who was assigned to examine the ground of peace talks between warring countries -- Russia and Ukraine-- appealed on Friday to other governments to “stop sending weapons to the battlefield” to end the ongoing brutal war. Li visited Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France, Germany and the European Union headquarters during a May 15-28 trip to discuss 'peace'. He after holding peace talks did not indicate that his trip to the region made any progress toward a settlement.
Li Hui's appeal came as Washington and its European allies are ramping up supplies of missiles, tanks and other weapons to Ukrainian forces that are trying to take back Russian-occupied territory.
No change in China's earlier position
Chinese leader Xi Jinping's government says it is neutral and wants to serve as a mediator but has supported Moscow politically. “China believes that if we really want to put an end to war, to save lives and realize peace, it is important for us to stop sending weapons to the battlefield, or else the tensions will only spiral up,” Li told reporters.
Hope for the peace
Political analysts saw little chance that the Chinese initiative would make progress, but it gives Beijing an opportunity to expand its global diplomatic role. Beijing released a proposed peace plan in February, but Ukraine's allies insisted President Vladimir Putin must first withdraw Russian forces.
Does war help the Chinese economy?
The Chinese economy’s sheer size and rapid growth are impressive. China maintained one of the highest economic growth rates in the world for more than a quarter of a century, helping lift over 800 million people out of poverty in just a few decades.
The country is the largest exporter in the world and the most important trading partner of Japan, Germany, Brazil and many other countries. It has the second-largest economy after the U.S., based on the market exchange rate, and the largest based on purchasing power.
And yet the yuan still lags as a major global currency. The war in Ukraine, which started in February 2022, may change that. As a professor of finance and expert on international finance, I understand how this geopolitical conflict may put China’s currency on the next phase of its path to becoming a global currency – and prompt the onset of the decline of the U.S. dollar from its current dominance.
Chinese yuan’s slow progress
China has long wanted to make the yuan a global force and has mounted significant efforts to do so in recent years. For example, the Chinese government launched the Cross-Border Interbank Payments System, or CIPS, in 2015 to facilitate cross-border payments in yuan. Three years later, in 2018, it launched the world’s first yuan-denominated crude oil futures contracts to allow exporters to sell oil in yuan.
China has also emerged perhaps as the world’s largest creditor, with the government and state-controlled enterprises extending loans to dozens of developing countries. And China is developing a digital yuan as one of the world’s first central bank digital currencies. Even the trading hours for the yuan were recently extended on the mainland. Thanks to these efforts, the yuan is now the fifth-most-traded currency in the world.
That is a phenomenal rise from its 35th place in 2001. The yuan is also the fifth-most-actively used currency for global payments as of April 2023, up from 30th place in early 2011.
(With AP inputs)