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Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Xi Jinping Held Telephone Conversations

27.04.2023
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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-65396613

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had a "long and meaningful" telephone conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. This is their first contact since the beginning of the war, it was expected after the March visit of the head of China to Moscow. China has its own peace initiative, which Kyiv treats with restraint, and the West - skeptically.

"I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of the Ukrainian ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations," Zelensky tweeted. Later it became known that Pavel Ryabikin was appointed Ambassador of Ukraine to China, Zelensky signed a decree on his appointment. Previously, Ryabikin served as Minister of Strategic Industries.

Beijing said that the conversation took place at the initiative of the Ukrainian side, writes the AFP agency. A telephone contact between the leaders of Ukraine and China was expected immediately after the Chinese leader's three-day visit to Moscow, where he held talks with President Vladimir Putin. The fact that Xi Jinping plans to talk with President Zelensky for the first time since the start of the war was reported by the Wall Street Journal even before his visit to Moscow. The visit took place on March 20-22. At the end of March, the Financial Times wrote that the EU was trying to persuade Xi Jinping to negotiate with Zelensky. The source of the publication said that China's interest in a peaceful settlement in Ukraine should be considered a positive signal.

Zelensky himself, in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in March, said that he had sent a proposal through diplomatic channels to negotiate with the Chinese leader. In early April, the Chinese leader said he was ready to talk with the President of Ukraine.

Chinese state media now report that Xi told Zelensky that Beijing was ready to send special representatives to Ukraine and negotiate with all parties seeking peace, Reuters reported. Until now, Beijing has sought to demonstrate a neutral stance on Russia's actions. Xi Jinping is the most powerful world leader who has refrained from condemning war. Since February, he has been promoting a 12-point peace plan for Ukraine, which has been greeted with skepticism by the West and welcomed but cautiously by Kiev, Reuters notes.

China will focus on facilitating peace talks and make efforts for an early ceasefire, Xi Jinping said by phone to Zelensky, according to Chinese state media reports. "As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible big country, we will not sit idly by, we will not add fuel to the fire, let alone try to benefit from it," the Chinese leader said.

White House spokesman John Kirby hailed the phone call as "a good thing" but said it was too early to tell if it would lead to "any meaningful peace movement, plan or proposal."

China, according to the Xinhua news agency, will send a special envoy to Ukraine to negotiate a "settlement of the conflict." In its statements, China fundamentally refers to the war in Ukraine as a "conflict." The former Chinese Ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, will be the special envoy to come to Ukraine.

 

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