China to send special envoy to seek ‘political settlement’ to Ukraine war

China will ship a particular envoy to Ukraine, Russia and different international locations to debate a “political settlement to the Ukraine disaster”, the Chinese language overseas ministry mentioned on Friday.

Li Hui, a former Chinese language ambassador to Moscow, will go to Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia from Monday, spokesperson Wang Wenbin introduced at a press convention.

“Sending a consultant . . . is one other method of China demonstrating its dedication and efforts to selling peace talks, and absolutely reveals that China stands firmly on the facet of peace,” mentioned Wang.

Li’s go to comes as Ukraine prepares its spring counter-offensive, whose outcomes will affect the form of any peace negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, and because the EU begins to debate a brand new coverage in direction of China.

It additionally follows a virtually hour-long cellphone name between presidents Xi Jinping of China and Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine final month that the latter described as “lengthy and significant”. Xi informed Zelenskyy through the name that he would quickly ship a particular consultant to speak to “all events” to hunt a “political settlement”.

Xi has referred to as Russian president Vladimir Putin a minimum of 5 instances for the reason that warfare in Ukraine started, and the 2 leaders met in Moscow in March.

Beijing has laid out a 12-point proposal to finish the warfare. It calls on the warring sides to renew peace talks and respect nationwide sovereignty however doesn’t embrace a lot of Ukraine’s key calls for for peace — together with that Russian forces should first withdraw from Ukrainian territory earlier than any negotiations.

Ukraine’s overseas ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Li’s upcoming go to.

Yu Jie, a senior analysis fellow on China at Chatham Home, mentioned Li’s go to “goals to ship a sign that China is eager to play a mediation function quite than placing any substantive proposals on the desk”.

Yu mentioned China’s viewers was not the west however the “massive components of growing international locations who don’t see this warfare eye to eye because the collective west does”.

China’s ambivalence on the warfare in Ukraine, which it doesn’t check with as an invasion, has troubled its relationships with European international locations. Beijing’s ambassador to France induced an uproar final month by questioning the sovereignty of post-Soviet states, in remarks that the overseas ministry later contradicted.

In a frosty assembly along with his counterpart in Berlin on Tuesday, China’s overseas minister Qin Gang threatened countermeasures if the EU continued with a proposal to impose sanctions on Chinese language firms allegedly supplying navy dual-use elements to Russia.

“The Ukraine disaster continues to escalate, spillovers proceed to look, and calls from the worldwide group for ceasefire and de-escalation develop louder and louder,” Wang mentioned on Friday.

Li was China’s ambassador to Russia for 10 years to 2019. He’s a vice-minister of the Ministry of International Affairs and is its particular consultant on Eurasian affairs.

Extra reporting by Maiqi Ding

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