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China said Thursday its special envoy met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during talks in Kyiv earlier this week.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the meeting came amid discussions between envoy Li Hui and Ukraine’s foreign minister and other government officials.
“There is no remedy to resolve the crisis,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing. “All parties should create favorable conditions and accumulate mutual trust for the political settlement.”
The visit followed an earlier phone call between Zelenskyy and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Over two days, Li and Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba discussed “ways to stop Russian aggression,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
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Kuleba briefed Li, a former Chinese ambassador to Moscow, “about the principles of restoring a stable and just peace based on respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
According to the statement, Kuleba repeated his government’s position that Ukraine wouldn’t accept any proposal involving the loss of its territories or the “freezing of the conflict.”
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Press Office, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, center left, and Li Hui, Chinese envoy, center right, during their talks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 17, 2023. (Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Press Office via AP)
Xi’s government says it’s neutral and wants to serve as mediator in the 15-month-long conflict, but has supported Moscow politically and economically.
China sees Moscow as a diplomatic and military partner in opposing United States domination of global affairs. Beijing has refused to criticize the invasion and used its status as one of five permanent United Nations Security Council members to deflect diplomatic attacks on Russia.
Beijing released a proposed peace plan in February, but Ukraine’s allies largely dismissed it, insisting that Russian President Vladimir Putin must withdraw his forces. Zelenskyy’s own 10-point peace plan also includes a tribunal to prosecute war crimes committed by Russia.
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The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said Li also will visit Poland, France and Germany, but didn’t give details of his schedule.
Political analysts see little hope for a peace agreement because neither Ukraine nor Russia is ready to stop fighting.
African countries are also undertaking a peace initiative over the war in Ukraine.