Zelenskyy and Xi have a phone call – key takeaways

April 27,2023 902
Zelenskyy and Xi have a phone call – key takeaways

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held an hour-long telephone conversation with his Chinees counterpart Xi Jinping covering “a full range of topical issues of bilateral relations” wis special attention to the ways of possible cooperation to establish a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian president’s official website.

The Ukrainian leader called the conversation “long and meaningful.”

“Before the full-scale Russian invasion, China was Ukraine’s number one trading partner,” Zelensky said. “I believe that our conversation today will give a powerful impetus to the return, preservation and development of this dynamic at all levels.”

The Ukrainian president mentioned that the call was taking place on the anniversary of the Chornobyl Disaster, the world’s largest nuclear accident. In this context, he stressed that the ongoing Russian occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and the use of the plant as a cover for military strikes at Ukrainian cities and villages demonstrate Moscow’s disrespect for the safety of all people in the world.

Zelenskyy briefed the Chinese leader on the situation at the front and the devastating consequences of the Russian invasion, including Russia’s abduction of 20,000 Ukrainian children.

He outlined the content of the Ukrainian Peace Formula and said he hoped that China would actively participate in efforts to restore peace.

“Nobody wants peace more than the Ukrainian people. We are on our land and fighting for our future, exercising our inalienable right to self-defense. Peace must be just and sustainable, based on the principles of international law and respect for the U.N. Charter. There can be no peace at the expense of territorial compromises. The territorial integrity of Ukraine must be restored within its 1991 borders,” the president of Ukraine said.

Zelenskyy emphasized the importance that all states would refrain from supporting Russia in the war, saying that Russia converts any support into the continuation of its aggression.

He said Ukraine is willing to remain a guarantor of global food security, but Russia is blocking Ukrainian ports and hence Ukraine’s export routes. According to the presidential website, the two presidents expressed their support for implementing and continuing the Black Sea Grain Initiative properly.

China confirmed the call, adding that it “always stood on the side of peace,” according to BBC. In a readout of the call, China quoted President Xi as saying that China, “as a responsible majority country,” would “neither watch the fire from the other side nor add fuel to the fire, let alone take advantage of the crisis to profit.”

During the hour-long conversation, China’s leader spoke of “lasting peace” and “respect for sovereignty.” However, China’s official summary of the call did not mention the name of the country that invaded Ukraine, nor did it use the word “war,” The New York Times points out.

As with China’s position paper on a peace settlement in Ukraine released in February, Xi provided no concrete plans to end the fighting, instead referring to “dialogue and negotiation.”

The State Council of the People’s Republic of China also reported that Xi told Zelenskyy that “China will send a special representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian affairs to visit Ukraine and other countries to conduct in-depth communication with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.”

Later, it became known that the special envoy to Ukraine would be Li Hui, a former deputy foreign minister of China who served as the Chinese ambassador to Russia from 2009–2019.

Collage: The New York Times