Zelensky hopes for 'development' of 'bilateral relations' with China after phone call with Xi

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly spoke over the phone on Wednesday, which is believed to be the first contact the two leaders have had since Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

Zelensky said that the talk with Xi was a “long and meaningful” one, with the Chinese state media suggesting that the two leaders had discussed the crisis in Ukraine, as well as their respective nation’s bilateral relationship, per the New York Times.

Zelensky took to Twitter on Wednesday following the discussion, saying in both Chinese and English: “I had a long and meaningful phone call with President Xi Jinping. I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine's ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations.”

Chinese media noted that there was no mention of Russia during the talk, with Xi reiterating that China’s “core position” is to promote “peace and talks.” China’s leader also said that the “political basis of China-Ukrainian relations” was the “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The Chinese media noted that Beijing would work to send a representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian affairs to Ukraine to hold talks with all parties involved in the political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, per the BBC.

The news comes just days after the Chinese ambassador to France, Lue Shaye, said that he did not believe territories previously controlled by the Soviet Union were sovereign. The ambassador was soon contradicted by Beijing, who attempted to dispel the statement, suggesting that Lu was expressing his personal view, not China’s official political stance on the issue.

The Times reported that analysts have suggested Xi’s call with Zelensky may have been in response to Lu’s slip, which has damaged China’s relationship with Europe. This comes as China’s relationship with the United States continues to disintegrate.

Theresa Fallon, director of the Center for Russia Europe Asia Studies in Brussels, said: “Xi’s strategy is to weaken the trans-Atlantic alliance. It was really important for Xi to fix it and fix it fast.”

Image: Title: zelensky xi


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