Starting Monday, China will send special envoys to Ukraine, Russia, and other European nations as Beijing redoubles its efforts to find a diplomatic way out of Moscow’s invasion.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry reported that Ambassador Li Hui, the government’s special envoy for Europe-related affairs, will also visit Poland, France, and Germany.
Li is a former ambassador to Russia.
“The trip of Chinese officials to various states is a new sign of China’s commitment to promoting and facilitating dialogue, and is a strong proof that the Asian country is fully in favor of peace,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.
Last April, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy in their first telephone conversation since the Russian invasion of Ukraine that he would send a representative to his country.
The president intends to consolidate his figure as a global mediator after being pressured by the great powers of the West for his refusal to denounce Vladimir Putin’s war.
The call with Zelenskiy came shortly after China’s ambassador to France questioned the sovereignty of other former Soviet states under international law on a French television channel, drawing the ire of the Baltic nations and others.
China later removed a transcript of the comments and said they did not represent government policy.
A European diplomat in China said the confirmation that the delegation would go ahead was positive and described the visit as a political gesture and a fact-finding mission for Beijing.
They added that Poland was probably included in Li’s itinerary because he had discussed possible responses to the conflict.
Henry Wang Huiyao, founder of the Center for China and Globalization, described the decision to send a Chinese envoy to Ukraine as “really significant.”
“China should mediate and be actively involved so that people take this seriously and see that China can play a positive role,” he said.
“That’s going to improve relations with the two European countries and, of course, even with the United States.”
With information from Bloomberg
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