Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, said he had a long and meaningful call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
According to state media, during the much-anticipated meeting between the two leaders Xi urged Russia and Ukraine restart the peace talks. He also warned that “no one wins a nuclear conflict”.
The Chinese government has also promised to send a “special representative” to Kyiv to discuss a possible “political solution”.
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Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter after the discussion: “I’ve had a meaningful and long phone call with President Xi Jinping.
“I am convinced that this call and the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China will provide a powerful boost to the development our bilateral relations.”
This comes just two months after Beijing declared its intention to be a mediator for peace.
China has attempted to appear neutral in the conflict but refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to reports, President Xi said that China would send special representatives to Ukraine for talks with “all sides” about the “political resolution of the Ukrainian Crisis”.
He said that China was willing to continue providing “humanitarian aid” to Ukraine.
He said that both sides should be focused on the future and continue to plan and view bilateral relations in a long-term manner. They also need to maintain the mutual respect between them and their sincerity.
“No winner in nuclear war”
In a report on the phone call, Chinese state TV quoted Xi saying that “negotiation was the only viable solution.”
He said: “A nuclear war has no winners.”
“All parties involved should maintain calmness and restraint in dealing with nuclear issues and look at their futures and the destiny of humanity and themselves as a group and work together to resolve the crisis.”
In a joint declaration issued before the February 2022 invasion of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President declared that their governments shared a “no-limits friendship”.
China’s new role of peacemaker in reality is unlikely to change very much
Rumours have circulated that this call would be made around the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion.
The event has come about a bit later than expected, but is still significant.
It is important for the Chinese to claim neutrality in the peacemaking process. Remember, China has always said it wanted to broker peace.
China has been a crucial diplomatic ally for Russia and has provided them with financial technology. Xi, too, has visited Moscow on a three-day visit in March and spoken to Putin many times since the invasion.
It now has an answer to these criticisms. This call will allow China to continue to portray itself as the “great statesman”, but it won’t change anything in reality.
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The Chinese government issued a peace proposal earlier this year and called for talks and a ceasefire.
China took a step forward in its involvement with the war by making the phone call.
Zelenskyy, who visited Putin last month in Moscow, said in late march that he hadn’t spoken to Xi since war began. He has asked repeatedly to meet him.
Why China’s position is important
A Chinese official added that President Xi’s phone call with President Zelenskyy “shows China’s objective and impartial position on international issues”.
The country’s actions to resolve the crisis have been deemed “above board”.
Helen-Ann Smith, Sky’s Asia correspondent, said that the phone call between Zelenskyy & President Xi was “really important”.
She said: “China is showing itself as a peacemaker who can be a real force in this conflict.
“It wants be seen as a power capable of brokering a peace because it claims it is one the only mutual parties.
“The West views that claim with some skepticism.” China has not condemned the invasion but has provided Russia with technology, finance and diplomatic cover.
The two leaders spoke after Macron, the French President, urged Xi earlier in the month to “bring Russia to its senses” and to bring everyone to the negotiating tables.
Mr Macron was in Beijing on a trip with Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission, who expressed her expectation that China would promote a peaceful peace which respects Ukraine’s sovereignty.