Qin Gang in phone conversation with counterpart Dmytro Kuleba expresses concern that the war with Russia could get out of hand.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has told his Ukrainian counterpart that Beijing is concerned about the war against Russia getting out of hand and urged talks on a political solution with Moscow.
Qin told Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba that China wanted to see peace negotiations move forward, in a rare phone call Thursday, the foreign ministry in Beijing said in a statement.
China “has always taken an objective and fair position on the Ukraine issue,” Qin told Kuleba, according to the statement.
The minister also said China is “committed to promoting peace and advancing negotiations and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks,” the statement said.
Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the importance of the principle of territorial integrity” and that he had “underscored” the importance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “peace formula” for ending Russia’s war against Ukraine.
During my phone conversation with China’s State Council and Foreign Minister Qin Gang today, we discussed the importance of the principle of territorial integrity. I underlined the importance of @ZelenskyyUa‘s Peace Formula for Ending Aggression and Restoring a Just Peace in Ukraine.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 16, 2023
Zelensky’s 10-point peace formula includes the restoration of the non-negotiable territorial integrity of Ukraine, the withdrawal of all Russian troops, the cessation of all hostilities and the establishment of a special tribunal to investigate Russian war crimes.
China’s rare involvement in the war against Ukraine on Thursday follows Beijing’s recently proposed 12-point roadmap for a “political settlement of the Ukraine crisis”.
China has been brushing up on its credentials as an independent mediator after hosting talks last week in which longtime adversaries Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore full diplomatic ties.
But Beijing’s renewed interest in ending Ukraine’s more-than-year-long war must be related to China’s 2022 declaration of a borderless friendship with Russia. China has also refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, while at the same time stating that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected.
However, Beijing has condemned Western sanctions against Russia and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
At a March 7 press conference, Foreign Minister Qin insinuated that the US was undermining efforts for peace in Ukraine in order to expand the conflict to its own advantage.
“There seems to be an invisible hand pushing for the prolongation and escalation of the conflict and using the crisis in Ukraine to serve a certain geopolitical agenda,” he said.
The foreign ministry made no mention of Qin repeating such remarks to Kuleba or raising China’s roadmap for peace during Thursday’s phone call.
Chinese President Xi Jinping may visit Russia as early as next week, though neither side has confirmed dates for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.