China’s commitment to standing on the side of peace over the Ukraine crisis has been proved, once again. During a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said that dialogue and negotiations are “the only viable way out” for the Ukraine crisis, and that no one wins a nuclear war. China will send a special representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian affairs to visit Ukraine and other countries to conduct in-depth communication with all parties on the political settlement of the crisis, Xi said.
China’s core stance peace
During the call, the Chinese president stressed that on the Ukraine crisis, China’s core stance is to facilitate talks for peace. China did not create the crisis, nor is it a party to it, he 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,” he pledged. China released a 12-point paper stating its position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis on February 24, 2023, the first anniversary of the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. On Wednesday, Xi also said, 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. With rational thinking and voices now on the rise, it is important to seize the opportunity and build up favorable conditions for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, he urged. It is hoped that all parties would seriously reflect on the Ukraine crisis and jointly explore ways to bring lasting peace and security to Europe through dialogue, said Xi. China will continue to facilitate talks for peace and make its efforts for an early ceasefire and restoration of peace, he vowed. For his part, Zelenskyy thanked China for providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and welcomed China’s important role in restoring peace and seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis. He also said, China upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter in international affairs and has significant influence on the international stage. Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China, described the phone call between the two leaders as “long-awaited” and “much-anticipated.” “All the parties were looking forward to the conversation,” Wang told CGTN. “It shows China’s responsibility as a major country.” When briefing reporters about the call, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Li Hui will be the special envoy. Li served as Chinese ambassador to Russia from 2009 to 2019. In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it has noted the Chinese side’s readiness to make efforts to establish the negotiation process. “By sending the special envoy, China is further implementing its position paper with actions,” said Wang. That will make the international community look forward to China’s playing of a bigger role, he said.
China and Ukraine: strategic partners
During Wednesday’s conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Xi also pointed out that China-Ukraine relations, after 31 years of development, have reached a level of strategic partnership, boosting the development and revitalization of the two countries. Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the political foundation of China-Ukraine relations, said the Chinese president. “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,” Xi urged. He added that no matter how the international situation evolves, China will work with Ukraine to advance mutually beneficial cooperation. Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian side is committed to the one-China policy, and hopes to advance all-round bilateral cooperation with China. He also expressed hope to open up a new chapter in Ukraine-China relations and jointly safeguard world peace and stability. Following the call with Xi, Zelenskyy announced the appointment of Pavlo Ryabikin, a former minister of strategic industries, as Ukraine’s new ambassador to China.