China said it “will continue to play a constructive role in easing tensions over Ukraine”, after Ukraine’s top diplomat appealed to China’s foreign minister for help in mediating the dispute. a ceasefire during the Russian invasion.
“China always supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, welcomes the launch of peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, and hopes that the two sides will continue the process of dialogue and negotiation and seek a political solution that addresses the legitimate security concerns of both sides,” Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin’s spokesman said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, who said Ukraine is willing to maintain communication with China and “waits for China’s mediation for the realization of a ceasefire,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.
Kuleba also told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that the Chinese were “ready to seek a peaceful solution” in diplomatic talks to end the war and that he called on Wang to “take advantage of their influence on Putin, their relations with Russia, and urge Putin to stop this war immediately.
Wenbin’s comments come a day after China began evacuating its citizens from Ukraine.
Unlike nationals of many other countries, Chinese nationals in Ukraine were not given instructions to leave the country before the Russian invasion began. Prior to Russia’s attack, Chinese officials pushed back on warnings from the United States and its allies that aggressive action by Moscow was imminent.
However, China appeared to change course this week.
Some 400 students based in the Black Sea port city of Odessa and another 200 from the capital, Kyiv, left the country on Monday, according to the public tabloid Global Times, citing the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine. Another 1,000 citizens are expected to be evacuated to neighboring countries on Tuesday, he added.