China to send special envoy to Ukraine, Russia to broker peace

This will be the first visit by a Chinese official to Ukraine since beginning of war

Chinese envoy Li Hui

China is sending a special envoy to Ukraine, Russia and a few other European countries to arrive at a solution for the Ukraine crisis, Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday. The visit by the special envoy will be the first by a Chinese higher official since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine.

“Li Hui, China's special representative for Eurasian affairs will also visit Poland, France and Germany,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. Li Hui is a vice-ministerial level diplomat and a former ambassador to Moscow and his visit is expected to begin from Monday.

“The visit of Chinese representatives to relevant countries is another demonstration of China’s commitment to promoting peace and talks. It fully demonstrates that China is firmly on the side of peace,” South China Morning Post quoted Wang Wenbin as saying.

“China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in building more international consensus on a ceasefire, initiation of peace talks, and prevention of escalation of the situation ... to promote a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis,” the publication quoted Wenbin as saying.

China says it remains neutral over Russia's war in Ukraine but has declared it has a no limits relationship with Moscow and blames the US and NATO for provoking the conflict.

Beijing has put forward a peace plan for Ukraine that has been largely dismissed by the country's supporters, who say a resolution can only come when Russia ceases its attacks and withdraws its troops from Ukrainian territory.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month, setting the stage for the diplomatic push.

Beijing has previously avoided involvement in conflicts between other countries but appears to be trying to assert itself as a global diplomatic force after arranging talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in March that led them to restore diplomatic relations after a seven-year break.

China has friendly relations with Moscow as well as economic leverage as the biggest buyer of Russian oil and gas after the United States and its allies cut off most purchases.

Beijing, which sees Moscow as a diplomatic partner in opposing US domination of global affairs, has refused to criticise the invasion and used its status as one of five permanent UN Security Council members to deflect diplomatic attacks on Russia.

(With PTI inputs.)


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