China’s “top priority” on Ukraine is to push for a ceasefire and end the war, President Xi Jinping said on Friday. He told European Union Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron that brokering peace was his main aim.
Mr Xi, who recently cemented relations with Vladimir Putin during a trip to Moscow, was speaking as the pair’s three-day state visit came to an end.
He claimed Beijing’s foreign policy in regards to Ukraine could be summed up in one sentence: “Promote peace and dialogue.”
But he stressed the need to find a lasting political settlement to the Ukraine crisis.
Despite its rhetoric, China has continued to take an ambiguous approach to the war in Ukraine, declining to either back or condemn it.
Beijing has repeatedly cited its 12-point “political solution to the Ukrainian crisis”, a document which it produced on the first anniversary of the war in February.
But the plan does not explicitly protect Ukrainian sovereignty and has been heavily criticised by Kyiv, the United States and countries across Europe.
Ms von der Leyen said she welcomed Mr Xi’s openness to the possibility of speaking directly with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
She said that in her own meetings with Chinese leaders, she had also warned that arms shipments to Russia would “significantly harm” relations.
Ms von der Leyen said: “As a member of the UN security council, there is a big responsibility and we expect that China will play its role and promote a just peace, one that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Mr Macron on Friday travelled to Guangzhou in southern China. He had earlier called on his Chinese counterpart to “bring Russia to its senses” over Ukraine and urged him not to deliver weapons to Moscow.