Xi’s Peace Call

Chinese President Xi’ “peace call” to Ukraine President Zelenskyy is a fresh catalyst to pave way for political settlement in Ukraine crisis. Along with it has instilled deep motivation to global players to team up for brokering a much-needed peace deal instead of taking side and adding fuel into fire.

Indeed, Xi’ more than one hour communication with Zelenskyy is not a result of knee-jerk action. Neither it took place for publicity blitz to flaunt or impress the Western powers. It is, definitely, a .well-calculated step proposing a lasting solution for Ukraine-Russian dispute.

The meaningful telephonic chitchat, believed to be first contact on phone between both leaders since Ukraine crisis stemmed, has also set the tone of “way forward” that fits well to aspirations of both aggrieved parties.

During talk, insightful plan of sending special representatives to Ukraine to ensure political settlement has left a tangible impression on civilized world. It radiates a categoric message that China is never going to sit idle rather is galvanized to play its prolific role to resolve the conflict.

Frankly speaking, among leaders of international community if weighed up meticulously President Xi Jinping appears to be very clear and resolute on Ukraine-Russia tension. By virtue of his personal aura on global peace domain, charisma and mediation power, Xi’ words and reconciliatory role are openly accepted by both Ukraine president Zelenskyy and Russian President Putin.

After recent Xi’s peace call, Ukraine President Zelenskyy tweeted saying call was “long and meaningful.” He later wrote, on the Telegram messaging app, that the hour-long conversation paid particular attention “to the ways of possible cooperation to establish a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine.” He noted that China was Ukraine’s top trading partner before the invasion, and the call serves as a “powerful impetus” for the countries’ relations.

President Zelenskyy’s office announced the appointment of Pavlo Riabikin as ambassador to China, a post that has been vacant for two years since the death of Ukraine’s last ambassador to China in 2021.

The Ukrainian prime minister also said in the press conference that the call between the leaders of China and Ukraine the day before was productive. He added that it could be a very positive beginning for future relations.

The Kremlin also commented on the phone call, saying on Thursday it welcomed any attempt to end the conflict in Ukraine, but on Moscow’s terms.

“We are ready to welcome anything that can bring forward the end of the conflict in Ukraine and the achievement of Russia’s goals,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

It is also evident that US, European Union and even Ukraine have reservations on China’s positioning in relationship with Russian as they use to cast doubt allegedly that China supports overtly and covertly to Russia. They also accused that China has ideological chemistry with Russia considering latter as partner of anti-western world.

Interestingly nevertheless all these apprehensions, they trust China’s mediation vision. Speaking to reporters, President Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said the government has been seeking out Xi’s ear.

“We appealed to China and presented President Zelenskyy’s peace plan,” Yermak said. “Of course we can’t say that we accept China’s plan or political position, but it’s good that they are ready to be involved. We are looking for contact between President Zelenskyy and President Xi because we think it’s the best way to listen, personally, between our presidents.”

News of the call was also greeted with cautious welcome in some Western capitals.

John Kirby, a White House national security spokesperson, told reporters the phone call was “a good thing,” because “it’s important for President Xi and [Chinese government] officials to avail themselves of the Ukrainian perspective on this illegal and unprovoked invasion by Russia.” But it’s unclear if it can lead to some sort of peace, he said.The European Commission — the European Union’s executive arm — called it “long overdue.”

“China’s leadership needs to use its influence to bring Russia to end its war of aggression, restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and respect its sovereignty, as a basis for a just peace,” European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said, according to the Agence France-Presse.

A Chinese government readout after the call said it will send a special representative “to Ukraine and other countries to have in-depth communication with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.”

“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China would not sit idly by, nor would it add oil to the fire, still less exploit the situation for self gains,” the Chinese government said. “No matter how the international landscape changes, China is willing to work with the Ukrainian side to move forward the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.”

It said Xi reiterated his stance against the use of nuclear weapons. Russia has a large nuclear arsenal, while Ukraine is backed by NATO powers that possess nuclear arms, too.

“There is no winner in nuclear wars,” the Chinese government said Xi told Zelenskyy. “On the nuclear issue, all relevant parties must stay calm and exercise restraint, truly act in the interests of their own future and that of humanity, and jointly manage the crisis.”

Xi’s call is part of China’s perpetual efforts to restore peace between Ukraine and Russia. Recently China showcased its 12-point position paper on peace plan.

12 points discussed that sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld. They demanded for abandoning the cold war mentality.

“The security of a country should not be pursued at the expense of others. The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly. There is no simple solution to a complex issue. They asked for ceasing hostilities, saying conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control.

They underlined need for resuming peace talks. They said that dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis.

They pressed for resolving the humanitarian crisis and called for protecting civilians and prisoners of war (POWs). On the issue of keeping nuclear power plants safe, 12-points opposes armed attacks against nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities, and calls on all parties to comply with international law including the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) and resolutely avoid man-made nuclear accidents.

They appealed for reducing strategic risks. Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought, they added. Demanding for facilitating grain exports. 12-point asked for stopping unilateral sanctions. Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue; they only create new problems. China opposes unilateral sanctions unauthorized by the UN Security Council. They also sought for keeping industrial and supply chains stable and promotion of post-conflict reconstruction.

President of Institute of International Relations and Media Research