Discussed ‘fair and sustainable’ peace in Ukraine, Zelensky over call with China’s Xi

Volodymyr Zelensky

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by phone Wednesday, in their first known conversation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Beijing ramps up efforts to position itself as a potential peacemaker in the grinding conflict.

In a statement, Zelensky said he had “a long and meaningful phone call” with the Chinese leader. “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.

He said he discussed matters related to fair and sustainable peace in Ukraine.

“President Xi noted that China-Ukraine relations, after 31 years of development, have reached a level of strategic partnership, boosting development and revitalization of the two countries. Xi commended President Zelenskyy for stating, on multiple occasions, the importance he attaches to developing the bilateral relationship and advancing cooperation with China, and thanked the Ukrainian side for its strong assistance to the evacuation of Chinese nationals last year,” China’s ministry of foreign affairs statement said.

“Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the political foundation of China-Ukraine relations. The two sides need to look to the future, view and handle the bilateral relations from a long-term perspective, carry forward the tradition of mutual respect and sincerity, and take the China-Ukraine strategic partnership forward. China’s readiness to develop relations with Ukraine is consistent and clear-cut. No matter how the international situation evolves, China will work with Ukraine to advance mutually beneficial cooperation.”

President Xi pointed out that the Ukraine crisis is evolving in complex ways with major impacts on the international landscape. On the Ukraine crisis, China always stands on the side of peace. Its core stance is to facilitate talks for peace. He noted his proposals of four points about what must be done, four things the international community must do together and three observations. On this basis, China released its Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis. China did not create the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to the crisis, the statement said.

“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. Everything China does is aboveboard. Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable way forward. There is no winner in nuclear wars. On the nuclear issue, all relevant parties must stay calm and exercise restraint, truly act in the interests of their own future and that of humanity, and jointly manage the crisis,” the Chinese president said.

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