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US on Beijing's refusal to attend peace summit: China could play a useful diplomatic role if it wanted to

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 4, 2024 11:24 AM 2 min read
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, United States, April 1, 2024. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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China could play a useful diplomatic role in helping to stop Russia's war, but it continues to fuel the Russian defense industrial base, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on June 3.

Ukraine invited China to the peace summit back in January, but Beijing declined the invitation as the terms they required to attend were not met.

"We have always been clear that China could play a useful diplomatic role in helping resolve this conflict if it wanted to," Miller said during a press briefing in answer to a question on China's refusal to attend.

"But right now, it is hard to see how they could play that role given the actions that we have seen China take over recent months to rebuild and reconstitute Russia's defense industrial base."

China officially declares itself a neutral party to Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine and has denied providing lethal aid, but Beijing and Moscow continue to develop closer ties, most recently with Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting his counterpart Xi Jinping in May.

"We are going to continue to make clear to China that we object to those actions, that we will hold entities responsible for those actions, and we have heard our European counterparts say the same thing," the spokesperson added.

Miller said he has no information about U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's participation in the summit. He added that Washington would be "well represented" in Switzerland as Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to attend the event.

In the wake of the news of China's absence, President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Beijing of "working hard" to prevent countries from attending Ukraine's global peace summit.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning rejected the accusation, saying that China has never "fanned fire or fueled the flames" of Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine.

107 countries, organizations confirm participation in Ukraine’s peace summit, Presidential Office says
The Philippines and Singapore, which President Volodymyr Zelensky visited before the peace summit, will also attend the event.

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