China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that international talks in Saudi Arabia at the weekend on finding a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis had helped “to consolidate international consensus”.
More than 40 countries, including China, India, the United States, and European countries, but not Russia, took part in the Jeddah talks that ended on Sunday.
China sent its Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs and former ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, who in May toured six European capitals to find common ground for an eventual political settlement of the conflict, now in its 18th month.
Li “had extensive contact and communication with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis… listened to all sides’ opinions and proposals, and further consolidated international consensus,” the foreign ministry said in a written statement to Reuters.
“All parties positively commented on Li Hui’s attendance, and fully backed China’s positive role in facilitating peace talks,” the statement said.
China will continue to strengthen dialogue based on its 12-point peace proposal, and “accumulate mutual trust”, it said, without going into specific details.
China’s attendance signals possible shifts in Beijing’s approach but not a U-turn in its support for Moscow, analysts said.
Beijing has refused to condemn Moscow for the invasion it launched in February 2022. But it has offered its own peace plan, which received a lukewarm response in both Russia and Ukraine while the United States and NATO were skeptical.
The two-day meeting in Jeddah was part of a diplomatic push by Ukraine to build support beyond its core Western backers by reaching out to Global South countries that have been reluctant to take sides in a conflict that has hit the global economy.