China to ‘test waters’ on Ukraine peace – SCMP

Aprilia Rine

China to ‘test waters’ on Ukraine peace – SCMP

Beijing’s special envoy for Eurasia is currently traveling from Moscow to Kiev via the EU

China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, is expected to promote Ukraine peace talks during his ongoing trip to Europe, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

According to the report, the diplomat, who is scheduled to travel from Russia to Ukraine via four EU capitals, will “test the water” on whether the current mood in the region is more favorable towards a political settlement of the conflict, which China has been promoting since last year.

“China believes that the geopolitical landscape is changing, and that the so-called peace negotiations are more likely,” Yuri Poita, the head of Ukrainian Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies think tank, told the news outlet.

He noted that Li was likely to pitch the idea of China as a mediator in the talks between Kiev and Moscow again, but said he doubted whether this would be well-received due to China’s close trade ties with Russia.

However, according to Vita Golod from the Ukrainian Association of Sinologists, authorities in Kiev may be amenable to having Beijing take up the mediation role “because China is the only country who is welcome to Moscow and Kiev at the same time.”

EU officials, meanwhile, are now more likely to embrace China’s efforts due to its growing influence among the developing nations of the Global South, the report noted.

“If China’s involved in talks like the ones in Jeddah that are more directed at the Global South, this also kind of legitimizes Kiev’s position among those countries that are not fully in the Western camp,” added Jakub Jakobowski, deputy head of the Center for Eastern Studies think tank in Poland.

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a 12-point plan to end the fighting in Ukraine back in February last year. He called for a ceasefire and peace talks, as well as a halt to anti-Russia sanctions. Western officials dismissed the proposal, saying it would only benefit Russia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed at the time that China didn’t have much “credibility” on the issue because it has declined to condemn Russia for attacking Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin later said Xi’s proposal was “in tune with Russia’s approach” and could be taken as a basis for a peace deal with Kiev.

SOURCE

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