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China Keeps Ukraine Conflict Peace Talks on the Table

March 13, 2024 (EIRNS)—China’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui has completed his March 2-12 “shuttle diplomacy” in Europe seeking to build a consensus which could “pave the way for peace talks” to resolve the Ukraine conflict. His trip included stops in Russia, the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France.

Global Times asked Foreign Ministry Press Spokesman Wang Wenbin on the final day of Li’s trip if any consensus, on any issue, had been reached, and “what is China’s take on the prospects of peace after the visit?” Wang did not speak of specific results, but emphasized how China is proceeding. Li “held talks with relevant parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, had in-depth exchanges of views, and traveled intensively to mediate among different parties and convey information,” he reported.

In answer to a similar question the day before, Wang had also referenced Li “passing on messages” between some parties, indicating that more was likely taking place than the nasty official read-outs from such as the EU, Poland and others, would have the world believe. Wang indicated that Li had “held talks with various parties and officials from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland to pass on messages, build up consensus, and exchange in-depth views on a ceasefire and a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.”

In sum, Wang told reporters yesterday that China’s view is that “it has been more than two years since the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis began…. As the conflict drags on and the situation faces the risk of escalation and spillover, the most urgent priority now is to restore peace. China sincerely hopes that relevant sides can show political will, deescalate the situation and make concerted efforts for an early ceasefire and a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture.”

Similarly, when AFP tried on March 11 to get Wang to step into the controversy over Pope Francis’s call for Ukraine “to stop fighting and negotiate with Russia,” Wang sidestepped the question on Pope Francis, but reiterated that “China supports an international peace conference that is to be held in due course, recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, and is attended by all parties on an equal footing for fair discussions on all peace plans. China looks forward to the early restoration of peace and stability on the European continent and will continue to play a constructive role to this end.”