China tells Russia it is willing to help with Ukraine peace talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the Group of 20 Leaders' Summit in Bali on Nov 15. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NUSA DUA – China is willing to help with peace talks on Ukraine, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Bali.

“China will continue to uphold an objective and fair position and play a constructive role in persuading peace and promoting talks,” Mr Wang said in the meeting on Tuesday, according to a statement by the foreign ministry in Beijing.

Mr Wang also noted that Moscow had declared that nuclear war was not an option, after Russian President Vladimir Putin in October denied intending to use such weapons in Ukraine. 

“China noticed that Russia has recently reaffirmed the established position that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’, which shows Russia’s rational and responsible attitude,” Mr Wang was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua.

Mr Wang also said during the meeting with Mr Lavrov that China was pleased to see Russia signal its willingness to engage in dialogue over Ukraine and agree to resume the Black Sea grain export deal, according to the foreign ministry statement.

“China is willing to work with Russia to push forward their high-level exchanges and communication in various fields, deepen bilateral practical cooperation and facilitate personnel exchanges,” Mr Wang said, according to Xinhua news agency.

The remarks from Mr Wang come at a time when Beijing is under pressure from the United States and its allies in Europe to use its “no-limits partnership” with Moscow to push for an end to the war in Ukraine.

Mr Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a “no-limits” friendship just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Since then, Beijing has repeatedly said it would be willing to play a role in peace negotiations. However, China has refused to call the war an invasion.

On Monday, Mr Xi called on the US, military alliance Nato and the European Union to conduct “comprehensive dialogues” with Russia on Ukraine during his meeting with US President Joe Biden that spanned more than three hours.

Mr Wang and Mr Lavrov also discussed the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and the Korean peninsula, and the Iranian nuclear issue, the foreign ministry said. BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

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