China maintains communication on possible peace talk in Switzerland on Ukraine crisis: Chinese diplomat
Published: Mar 22, 2024 12:43 PM
Photo:Chen Qingqing/GT

Photo:Chen Qingqing/GT

China's Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui, who just concluded the second round of shuttle mediation between Russia, Ukraine and other European countries, delivered a briefing in Beijing on Friday, saying that China has communicated with Switzerland on a potential peace talk conference, and that any peace talks should be recognized by both Ukraine and Russia.

The briefing was attended by diplomats and embassy representatives in Beijing from 78 countries and regions including Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France and EU. At a time when the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been escalating as it enters its third year, as permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible country, China has always been committed to mediating and promoting peace, and never standing by idly, Li said.

As the conflict continues to deteriorate, with no signs of tension easing, the most urgent task now is to launch the peace talk as soon as possible, the Chinese diplomat said.

Li visited Russia, the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France from March 2 to 12, and held talks with relevant parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, had an in-depth exchange of views, and traveled intensively to mediate among different parties and convey information.

All sides attached high importance to Li's visit and commended China's effort of promoting talks for peace, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

"The purpose of our diplomatic shuttle this time is clear, to engage in in-depth communication with Russia and Ukraine, the two war-engulfed countries, as well as with relevant European nations, and based on the latest developments in the current situation, to jointly seek ways for an early political resolution of the crisis," Li said.

The Chinese diplomat also shared some prominent impressions about the visit. In Russia, Chinese and Russian diplomats held in-depth conversations and both believed that maintaining dialogue on the main crisis reflects the high-level strategic coordination between the two countries. Russia appreciates China's efforts in carrying out the second round of shuttle diplomacy during the crisis and recognized that the Ukraine crisis has to be resolved ultimately by negotiation, Li said.

The Russian side also raised its own opinions on peace talks, reiterating its willingness to engage in comprehensive negotiations on the Ukraine crisis.

The Chinese diplomat also emphasized that the Ukrainian side also attached great importance to his visit. The Ukrainian side expressed that they highly value the Ukraine-China relations, and are willing to push forward the bilateral relations and trade ties while maintaining people-to-people exchanges.

Li stressed that the Ukrainian side refuted some false claims that China is deliberately keeping its distance from the country, saying that the bilateral relations have not been affected.

The Ukrainian side also appreciates China's balanced position on the crisis and the position paper that China released on resolving the Ukraine crisis, hoping China to continue playing the constructive role, Li said at the briefing.

Li also shared some impressions from his most recent round of shuttle diplomacy, saying that more than two years into this crisis, he did not see any signs of de-escalation but the consensus for peace talk is on rise despite relatively big differences for the peace talk still remaining as each side sticks to their own position. But they all agree that this crisis should end ultimately by negotiation, Li said.

He also noted that all parties expect that China will play a bigger and constructive role as they all recognized its call for de-escalating the conflict. And as a UN Security Council permanent member and a common friend to Russia and Ukraine, China can carry on the mediation effort to accumulate more positive factors for peace talk.

When it comes to a possible peace talk conference hosted by Switzerland, Li said he has discussed this matter with the Swiss side in Brussels during his just concluded visit. He believes that any peace talk conference should be recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, and should be joined equally by parties involved with all peace solutions openly discussed.

Starting from last year, relevant countries had hosted multiple rounds of international conference on the Ukraine crisis, and some may probably ask why China didn't participate in the follow-up conferences after the Jeddah conference in August 2023, Li noted.

"What I can tell you is that the Chinese side believes that conferences of this kind fail to invite the two major stakeholders to join, and what's been discussed on the table is the proposals from one side… These kind of conferences lacked representation and failed to deliver concrete results," Li said.

More and more countries from the Global South are agreeing on this, the Chinese diplomat added.

While the peace talk conference in Switzerland is still in preparation, Li said the Chinese side is willing to maintain communication with all relevant sides.

China supports the timely convening of an international peace conference that is recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, involves equal participation from all parties, and allows for a fair discussion of all peace proposals, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said at a press conference on Friday. 

"China is willing to continue to play its unique role in contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to the political resolution of the Ukrainian crisis," Lin said.