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Chinese envoy visits Ukraine, meets Kuleba

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 17, 2023 11:23 PM 2 min read
The meeting of Ukrainian and Chinese diplomats in Kyiv on May 17, 2023. (Ukraine's Foreign Ministry)
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Li Hui, China's special representative for Eurasian affairs, visited Ukraine on May 16-17 as part of the agreement reached during the Zelensky-Xi phone call last month, according to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry.

Li met with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, discussing the two countries' bilateral cooperation and Russia's war against Ukraine. Kuleba told the Chinese envoy that Ukraine wouldn't accept any peace proposals involving the loss of its territories or the conflict's "freezing."

During the meeting, the minister emphasized the importance of China's participation in implementing the Ukrainian peace formula and the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as well as assuring nuclear safety amid Russia's occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Chinese Foreign Ministry previously announced that Li would conduct a diplomatic tour of Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France, and Germany. Li Hui, a former ambassador to Russia, is the most senior Chinese official to visit Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion.

China has publicly positioned itself as a potential mediator between Russia and Ukraine. On April 14, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said that his country wouldn't sell weaponry to either side of the war.

China released a 12-point "peace plan" on the one-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion. It was criticized by many of Ukraine's allies for failing to explicitly call for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.

President Volodymyr Zelensky talked to Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 26 for the first time since Russia's all-out war against Ukraine began in February last year.

On the same day, Zelensky appointed Pavlo Riabikin, the former minister of strategic industries, as the new ambassador to China.

Explainer: China’s increasing role in Russia’s war against Ukraine
Just days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February, China’s leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “friendship without limits,” agreeing there would be no “forbidden areas of cooperation.” Unsurprisingly then, Beijing did not condemn Russia’s all-out w…
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