Newsman: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“I had a long and meaningful phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations,” Zelensky said.
A Chinese government readout after the call said China will send a special representative to Ukraine and other countries “to have in-depth communication with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.”
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China would not sit idly by, nor would it add oil to the fire, still less exploit the situation for self gains,” the Chinese government said. “No matter how the international landscape changes, China is willing to work with the Ukrainian side to move forward the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
Xi said, acknowledging that the crisis has had a “major impact” internationally and that the “only feasible way out” is “dialogue and negotiation.”
China has repeatedly said that the “legitimate” security concerns of all countries must be taken into account and accused NATO and the US of fueling the conflict.
President Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak said the government welcomes a role for China in peace efforts, even if Kyiv does not accept Beijing’s plan, speaking to NPR news on Monday,
“We appealed to China and presented President Zelenskyy’s peace plan,” Yermak said. “Of course we can’t say that we accept China’s plan or political position, but it’s good that they are ready to be involved. We are looking for contact between President Zelenskyy and President Xi because we think it’s the best way to listen, personally, between our presidents.”
Xi’s call comes as the Chinese leader has sought to play the role of peacemaker, having brokered a deal to mend fences between Middle Eastern rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
China called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, in a position paper released on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.
“Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis,” the 12-point position paper stated. “All efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be encouraged and supported.”