Chinese envoy embarks on European tour to discuss Ukraine crisis settlement

Photo Courtesy Channel News Asia

Beijing’s top diplomat, Li Hui, is set to embark on a European tour, including Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France, and Germany, with the aim of discussing a political resolution to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. This visit has the potential to coincide with the start of Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive to regain territory occupied by Russia.

Li Hui, China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs and former ambassador to Russia, is the most senior Chinese official to visit Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022. The exact schedule of his tour has not been disclosed by China’s foreign ministry.

“The visit … is a testament to China’s efforts towards promoting peace talks, and fully demonstrates China’s firm commitment to peace,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin during a daily briefing.

This diplomatic mission follows the first phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in late April after the conflict began. Zelenskyy described the conversation on Twitter as “long and meaningful,” with Xi indicating China’s focus on promoting peace, although there has been skepticism in the West about Beijing’s peace proposals due to its close association with Russia.

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Some European leaders have called for Xi Jinping to take a more active role in restricting Moscow’s actions during the conflict, with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressing this sentiment during recent visits to Beijing.

China previously presented a 12-point proposal for a political settlement in Ukraine. However, this plan, coinciding with the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, was largely seen as a reiteration of China’s earlier positions on the war. The proposal called for a gradual de-escalation by both parties and warned against the use of nuclear weapons reports Channel News Asia.

Ukraine has rejected the idea of territorial concessions to Russia, insisting on regaining every inch of its land. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and since the previous year has claimed to have annexed four other Ukrainian regions, now referred to as Russian territories.

Throughout the conflict, China has not condemned its strategic ally Moscow or acknowledged the Russian actions as an “invasion.” Consequently, European countries and the United States have questioned China’s credibility as a mediator in the ongoing conflict.

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Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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