Ukrainian authorities ask China to put pressure on Russia


China seems to want to actively interfere in the war in Ukraine after a week of hesitation. For the record: neither militarily nor as an ally of Russia, but as a neutral mediator. This is evidenced by reports of a telephone conversation between the Chinese and Ukrainian foreign ministers.

The Ukrainian minister, Dmytro Kuleba, called yesterday with his counterpart Wang Yi. His request to Beijing: use the good ties you have with Moscow to ensure that Russia stops the invasion.

According to the Foreign Ministry in Kiev, Wang Yi has committed “to do everything possible” to stop the war through diplomatic channels.

“Ukraine is prepared to strengthen communication with China and looks forward to China playing a mediating role in reaching a ceasefire,” Ukrainian minister Dmytro Kuleba said. His Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, said Beijing would do everything it can to end the war by any diplomatic means.

However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry hopes that the two countries will come out themselves first. “We hope that both sides will continue the process of dialogue and negotiation and seek a political solution,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press conference. Wang, however, does not want to comment on whether China will actually assume the role of neutral mediator and instead emphasizes the security of Chinese citizens in Ukraine.

“This is an opportunity for China to profile itself as a responsible world power,” says Frank Pieke, professor of modern China Studies at Leiden University. The fact that Ukraine is asking China to mediate makes it easier for Beijing to assume the role of neutral mediator. “But then China will set important conditions, such as that Europe and the US will not try to undermine their mediator position.”
Indispensable role

“China has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, allowing Beijing to play an indispensable role in restoring peace,” said Victor Gao of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank affiliated with the Chinese government.

If China were to mediate, it would still be questionable whether they would be successful in this. “As a mediator, China always follows a specific scenario. That has so far proved inefficient,” believes Sinologist Helena Legarda of the Mercator Institute for China Studies.


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