Chinese Ukraine Envoy Calls to end Weapon shipments in battlefield for ‘Peace Talks’


BEIJING (AP) China’s special envoy to Ukraine on Friday urged other governments to “stop sending weapons to the battlefield” and called for peace talks, while the United States and its European allies stopped supplying Ukrainian forces with missiles and tanks.

Li Hui said Russian and Ukrainian officials were open to peace talks but did not indicate they were getting any closer.

“China believes it is important to stop sending weapons to the battlefield if we really want to end the war, save lives and establish peace,” Li told reporters. If we don’t, the tension will only get worse,” he said.

China is the only major government with good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, and is considered one of the largest export markets for both countries. Mr. Xi’s decision to send a special envoy was welcomed by the Ukrainian government, but questioned China’s motives after Beijing said it had “unlimited” ties with the Kremlin ahead of the February 2022 invasion. 

Beijing announced a peace plan in February, but Ukrainian allies insisted that President Vladimir Putin must first withdraw Russian troops.

“China’s goal is to facilitate peace talks and an end to hostilities,” said former ambassador to Moscow Li.

European governments pledged missiles, tanks and drones to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who visited Britain, France and Germany in mid-May. Ukraine has received Patriot missile defense systems from the US, Germany and the Netherlands. The United States, Spain, Germany and France have pledged to provide a total of 300 tanks.

US President Joe Biden has previously warned Mr. Xi of the uncertain consequences if China provided weapons and military materials to support an aggression against Russia. China has increased its purchases of Russian oil and gas after the United States, Europe and Japan have suspended most purchases, helping to underpin the Kremlin’s export earnings, but could trigger Western sanctions. Everything seems to be avoided.

Li reiterated Beijing’s call to respect “the territorial integrity of all countries,” but did not suggest that China could pressure Moscow to return conquered territories. Putin’s forces occupy Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, where most of the population speaks Russian.

“China insists on dealing fairly and impartially with security concerns,” Li said.

Lee has repeatedly said that outsiders are “adding fuel to the fire” and making statements that “make the situation worse.” He did not name a political party, but used language that Chinese officials would use to criticize U.S dominance in world affairs.

“Who are the real troublemakers of the world and the real security threats to the world? The global community has a deep understanding of this,” Lee said.

Li defended the Chinese government’s “strategic coordination partnership” with Russia, saying it would be more beneficial to the world than other governments, but did not name him.

China’s Xi Jinping government is neutral and wants to act as a mediator, but politically it supports Moscow. Foreign analysts saw little chance of progress during Mr. Lee’s visits, as neither side sought to stop fighting. However, sending a special envoy gave the Chinese government an opportunity to expand its diplomatic role globally.