China concerned about escalation of war in Ukraine, Chinese FM tells Ukrainian counterpart
China has refrained from condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, calling it a crisis instead and blaming the US and Nato for the situation in the Eastern European country
Beijing: China is concerned about the escalation of war in Ukraine and the situation spiralling out of control, Chinese foreign minister, Qin Gang told his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, on Thursday evening amid speculation that President Xi Jinping is likely to soon, and for the first time since the Moscow’s invasion, speak with Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky.
“China is worried that the crisis will escalate and may spiral out of control, and hopes that all parties will remain calm, rational and exercise restraint, resume peace talks as soon as possible, and promote a return to the track of political settlement,” Qin told Kuleba, according to a readout in Mandarin of their phone conversation released by the Chinese foreign ministry this evening.
China has refrained from condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, calling it a crisis instead and blaming the US and Nato for the situation in the Eastern European country.
While strengthening ties with Moscow, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged both sides to agree to a gradual de-escalation leading to a comprehensive ceasefire in a 12-point paper on the “political resolution of the Ukraine crisis”. Released on the first anniversary of the war on February 24, the proposal has received lukewarm response internationally.
“We hope that Russia and Ukraine will keep hope for dialogue and negotiation, and will not close the door to a political solution, no matter how difficult and challenging it is. China will continue to play a constructive role for a ceasefire to stop the war, ease the crisis and restore peace,” Qin told Kuleba.
The phone conversation between the two ministers took place in the backdrop of reports, which say Chinese and Ukrainian leaders will soon also have a phone conversation.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping plans to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week.
The newspaper, citing anonymous sources, said the call was likely to take place after Xi’s visit to Moscow next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Neither China nor Russia have confirmed the visit so far.
Thursday’s call between the two ministers could be a preparatory phone conversation before Xi speaks with Zelensky: Xi has not spoken with the Ukrainian leader since Russia invaded the country in February, 2022.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi had spoken with Kuleba on the margins of the Munich Security Conference on February 18. “China has always been standing on the side of peace and dialogue, and insisted on promoting peace talks,” Wang then told him, adding: “China does not want to see the crisis being prolonged and escalated and is willing to work with the international community to prevent the situation from getting worse and strive to bring about peace.”