The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, March 2, adopted the resolution demanding Russia to immediately cease its “aggression” by a vote of 141 to 5 at an extraordinary session.
Belarus, a critical launching location for Russia’s attack, was the sole country to vote no to the resolution. The vote result may put pressure on China to adopt a clearer position on the matter.
China, one of the UN Security Council’s five veto-wielding members, was one of 35 countries that abstained from the vote.
The IAEA’s Board of Governors on Thursday , March 3, also backed a resolution criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urging it to let Ukraine control all its nuclear facilities.
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog calls on Moscow to “immediately cease all actions against, and at, the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and any other nuclear facility in Ukraine, in order for the competent Ukrainian authorities to preserve or promptly regain full control”.
Russia and China voted against the resolution, claiming it is based on “politically motivated lies and mistakes”
Twenty-six countries voted in favor of the resolution, while five countries abstained, which includes Pakistan, India, South Africa, Senegal, and Vietnam. Mexico and Burundi were absent.
Courtney Fung, an associate professor at Macquarie University and an associate fellow at Chatham House:
“The overwhelming condemnation from 141 states in opposition to China’s strategic partner, Russia, is a clear signal to China that other states are watching how a leading state, like China, responds to blatant abuse of Ukrainian sovereignty.”
He said, “Rhetoric over ‘Cold War mentality’ is one thing, but condoning invasion is another.”
Bloomberg said, the vote shed light on China’s persistent efforts to avoid taking a strong stance against its close diplomatic partner’s military action, despite Beijing’s regular advocacy for preserving the national sovereignty rights as set forth in the UN charter.
According to Xinhua News, China’s UN ambassador envoy, Zhang Jun, said the resolution “had not undergone full consultations within the whole membership, nor did it take full consideration the history and complexity of the current crisis”.
Zhang continued, “These are not in line with China’s consistent positions. Therefore, China had no choice but to abstain.”
Beijing has been pushing Moscow to pursue negotiations with Ukraine in recent days. On the other side, China has voted against a binding UN Security Council resolution condemning the invasion.
In a call with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba this week, China foreign minister Wang Yi 王毅 described the conflict as a “war” and urged the protection of civilians. However, Chinese media has refrained from calling for any ceasefire or using the term “invasion.” It also continues to avoid criticizing Russia and staying off the topic, while at the same time voicing support for so-called Russia’s security concerns, and blaming the US and EU for precipitating the crisis.