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China calls on Ukraine, Russia to start peace talks ‘as soon as possible’

by Alexander Khrebet June 15, 2024 10:37 AM 2 min read
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Deputy Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Geng Shuang speaks during a UN Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on May 13, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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Geng Shuang, China's deputy representative to the United Nations, called on Ukraine and Russia to start peace talks as soon as possible at the UN Security Council meeting on June 15.

The remarks came on the eve of the Global Peace Summit that will bring together representatives of over 90 countries to discuss peace in Ukraine on June 15-16 in Switzerland. The summit was initiated by Ukraine, and Russia wasn't invited. China is not expected to participate.

China previously proposed a peace plan in February 2023, which was praised by Russia, dismissed by the West, and received a mixed response from Kyiv.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on June 14 that as a condition for peace negotiations, Ukrainian troops must leave Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. He added that Ukraine must recognize Russia's illegal annexation of the four regions and abandon any ambition to join NATO.

“Weapons may end a war, but they cannot bring lasting peace. China calls on the parties to the conflict to demonstrate political will, come together, and start peace talks as soon as possible to achieve a ceasefire and halt military actions," Geng told the UN Security Council meeting.

Ukraine invited China to the peace summit back in January, but Beijing indicated it would not attend. The Chinese government said its required terms for attending were not met, as not both countries involved in the war would participate.

After Beijing signaled its refusal to participate, President Volodymyr Zelensky accused China of “working hard” to prevent countries from attending the summit.

Beijing has been pushing its alternative peace plan ahead of the upcoming event in Switzerland, Reuters reported on June 13, citing undisclosed diplomatic sources.

The Chinese proposal was phrased vaguely but presented as an alternative to Zelensky's peace plan, which is backed by Kyiv's Western partners and will be discussed on June 15-16 in the Burgenstock resort.

Zelensky's 10-point peace formula, a plan first outlined in the fall of 2022, calls for a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, punishing those responsible for war crimes, and the release of all prisoners, among other goals.

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