Conditions Not Right For Ukraine-Russia Peace Talks, China Says After Appeal From Kiev

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Feb 18, 2024 - 12:15 AM

Starting last month the Zelensky government began calling for China to get more involved in the international effort to find a peace formula in Ukraine. "China needs to be involved in talks to end the war with Russia," a Zelensky top aide said during January's WEF meeting in Davos.

But what Ukraine means by peace talks is that Beijing must get on board Kiev's own peace formula, which demands the full withdrawal of all Russian troops from seized Ukrainian territory. This weekend, Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba is reportedly seeking a meeting with China's FM to discuss the issue.

Importantly, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has responded by saying conditions are not yet right for peace talks to end the war.

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The top Chinese diplomat delivered his response before the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. "There are not ripe conditions in place for parties to go back to the negotiating table," he announced in an on-stage interview.

"China has done a lot of constructive work and we will continue to play a positive role," he added. Noticeably, China has never outright condemned the war or Russia's invasion. Instead, it has issued a number of statements highlighting the role of NATO's expansions in leading up to the crisis.

Ukraine has been pressing to woo Global South countries and 'fence-sitters' to its side, also in preparation for a major summit in the near-future.

"Ukraine has been pushing for a high-level summit to be held next month, though the date is likely to slip to April or May due to the lack of commitment from world leaders, according to people familiar with the plans," Bloomberg writes.

"Switzerland has said it’s open to hosting, and its diplomats have been looking to assess interest from counterparts — including in China," the report noted.

China is seen as key to getting Russia to make significant compromise, yet both Xi and Putin know that the latest Russian military successes in Ukraine means Kiev has no cards to play. Ultimately, without China being on board with such initiatives to convince the major Global South countries to take a firmer anti-Russian line, there's little likely to come out of it.

Still, it seems each side is at least inching toward possible near-future talks. "Liu Jianchao, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told an event in the US that Russia has showed enthusiasm to have peace talks with Ukraine, when Chinese officials talked with them," according to statements issued last month.