Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been going on for over 600 days since its tanks tried to roll into Kyiv in February last year in what it wrongly thought would be a short war.

A few months short of hitting the two-year mark, the drawn-out Russia-Ukraine conflict had been reduced to a stalemate, with hundreds of thousands of soldiers dead on both sides and tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilian casualties.

History has repeated itself once again in that hawkish leaders of nations declare wars, but their soldiers do the dying either in support of expansionist drives by madmen or in defense of their respective countries.

For the Russians sent to the battlefield by their President Vladimir Putin, occupying about 20 percent of Ukrainian territory early in their annexation campaign is certainly not worth the blood spilled away from home. Ukrainians had proven themselves to be tough nuts to crack, and the Russians had been pushed back and out of what little territory they’d gained.

Putin’s military adventurism in what can already be declared a failed invasion of Ukraine, the biggest attack on a European country since World War, will now take the back seat to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

With Putin now just looking for a face-saving exit plan, China has yet to explicitly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even if it has made several half-baked statements that could barely pass off as criticisms of Russia’s action.

In February 2022, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China “supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine.” He added that Beijing “opposes the threat or use of force in international relations.”

The following March, China’s President Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden that his country “does not approve of violence” and that it is “important to resolve the crisis through dialogue and negotiations.”

Those tepid statements by Beijing should be taken with China abstaining from voting on several United Nations resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Belatedly, in May 2023, when Russia’s forces had already floundered and Putin had been exposed as a paper tyrant, China voted in favor of a UN resolution that explicitly acknowledged the Russian Federation’s “aggression” against Ukraine.

In contrast with its lukewarm comments on Russia, China has been quick in condemning Israel’s airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, as Wang has come out to say that they have gone “beyond the scope of self-defense” and that the Israeli government must “cease its collective punishment of the people of Gaza.”

Speaking to Prince Faisal bin Farhan of Saudi Arabia over the weekend, Wang was clearly voicing out China’s opposition to a ground assault by the Israel Defense Force against the terrorist group Hamas, whose members are not only hiding behind the over 100 hostages they took but behind no less than their people, the Palestinians.

The blood of the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip is on Hamas for its cowardly action of attacking peaceful Israeli communities, killing over a thousand civilians, and then slipping back into the Gaza Strip to use its civilian population as a shield.

“It (Israel) should listen earnestly to the calls of the international community and the UN secretary general and cease its collective punishment of the people of Gaza,” Wang said.

As an Agence France-Presse report pointed out, China’s statements on the Israel-Palestine conflict have not explicitly named Hamas in their condemnation of violence. China had been soft on Russia and is now quiet on Hamas, but that’s to be expected.

China’s stance on these two international conflicts reeks of duplicity. While it’s essential to advocate for peace and the protection of civilians, it’s disconcerting to observe China’s swift condemnation of Israel without explicitly naming the role of Hamas in the violence.

Furthermore, it is vital for China to address its own actions, particularly in the West Philippine Sea. Before it can credibly advocate for peace and the rule of law, China must cease its aggressive actions in the region and respect the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling, which affirms the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

Only when China demonstrates a consistent commitment to international law and peaceful resolutions can it regain credibility and genuinely contribute to global peace efforts. Until then, its double standard undermines its moral authority and fosters distrust among the international community.

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