Xi Jinping, Zelensky discuss peace negotiations in historic phone call

Chinese President Xi Jinping engaged in a telephone conversation with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday, with peace negotiations being a central discussion point. This initial communication between the leaders was followed by Russian claims that Ukraine sought to sabotage any endeavours to cease warfare.

Beijing proclaims neutrality concerning the conflict in Ukraine. However, despite never denouncing Russia’s invasion, President Xi has faced escalating pressure from Western nations to step in as a mediator. Many Western government officials perceived China’s 12-point “position paper” released in February as leaning toward Russia.

Zelensky announced on Twitter…

“I had a long and meaningful phone call with President Xi Jinping.”

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He mentioned his expectation that the phone call and appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China would advance bilateral relations. Zelensky’s spokesperson, Sergiy Nykyforov, confirmed the nearly one-hour duration of the leaders’ conversation via Facebook, Bangkok Post reported.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi emphasised “talks and negotiation” as the “only way out” of the war during the call initiated by Kyiv. Xi maintained that China has consistently advocated for peace and asserted that China would not exploit the crisis for its benefit. He encouraged all parties to approach the nuclear issue with caution, focusing on the mutual future while managing the crisis.

China also proposed sending a government delegation and “special representative” to Ukraine to facilitate a political settlement. Although Zelensky repeatedly expressed his willingness for talks with President Xi, Russia’s foreign ministry questioned the sincerity of Ukraine’s authorities and their “Western minders” in ruining past peace initiatives.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby referred to China’s involvement as “a good thing” while acknowledging the uncertainty that this would result in a meaningful peace plan. Meanwhile, the European Commission and French officials appreciated the dialogue and encouraged any discussions approaching a conflict resolution consistent with international law and Kyiv’s fundamental interests.

China’s 12-point paper from February called for a political settlement promoting peace negotiations. The first point defended the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all countries. However, China refrained from specifying how this relates to the Ukraine war.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg expressed his scepticism about China’s neutrality due to its failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The alliance between China and Russia was strongly emphasised amid President Xi’s Moscow visit in March, where he praised the partnership entering “a new era.”

During that meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted Russian-Chinese cooperation’s “truly unlimited possibilities and prospects” and praised the “special nature” of the relationship between the two nations.

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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