Xі Jinping says he’s ready for talks with Zelenskyy ‘at an appropriate time,’ says von der Leyen
Emmanuel Macron, Xi Jinping and Ursula von der Leyen in Beijing on April 6, 2023 (Photo:Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS)
Chinese President Xi Jinping is willing to talk to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about a peace settlement in Ukraine “at the appropriate time,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a briefing in Beijing on March 6 following talks with China’s ruler.
Von der Leyen said that during her meeting with Xi, she had urged him to talk to the Ukrainian leader.
She described the outcome of the meeting as “positive” and said that Xi confirmed his willingness to negotiate – when the conditions and time are appropriate.
French President Emmanuel Macron, also in Beijing with Ursula von der Leyen, called on Xi to “restore Russia’s healthy mind” and facilitate negotiations.
Macron also said the Chinese leader excluded the use of nuclear weapons during the full-scale war Russia has unleashed against Ukraine.
After the talks between Macron and Xi, a French diplomatic source told news agency Reuters that China was ready to work with France on “stopping (Russia’s) war (against Ukraine) through negotiations.”
Xi was on a state visit to Moscow from March 20 to 22, becoming the first leader to meet with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him on March 17.
The Russian and Chinese leaders made a series of joint statements and signed two joint documents on plans for economic cooperation and deepening partnership, but there was no announcement of military support from China to Russia, which was said to have been one of the Kremlin’s goals for the visit.
The Financial Times reported that after his visit to the Kremlin, Xi would hold a phone call with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but it has not yet been reported that such a call has taken place.
Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the President’s Office, announced on March 23 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President are working on planning a conversation between Zelenskyy and Xi.
However, Chinese officials have not given a direct answer as to whether negotiations will actually take place, Podoliak said.
Earlier, China put forward a “position paper” on peace in Ukraine, which stressed the need for respect for the territorial integrity of countries, but did not call on Russia to remove its troops from the parts of Ukraine is has occupied.
Zelenskyy put forward a detailed peace plan at the G-20 summit last November. It stipulated that Russia must end its occupation of Ukraine completely, pay reparations, and surrender officials for trial to an international tribunal, among other points.
The Kremlin has not put forward any peace proposals.
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