Chinas special envoy visits Ukraine

China’s special envoy visits Ukraine

China said Friday it would send a special envoy to Ukraine, Russia and other European countries starting Monday to discuss a “political solution” to the war in Ukraine.

While the Asian giant regularly calls for respect for states’ sovereignty, it has never publicly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukrainian territory.

Beijing presents itself as a neutral party in the conflict and wants to play a mediating role, even if it is disqualified in the eyes of some European capitals because of its position as Moscow’s close economic and diplomatic partner.

“Starting May 15, Ambassador Li Hui, the Chinese government’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs, will visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry. Foreign Affairs.

“He will discuss a political solution to the Ukraine crisis with each of these parties,” he told the press.

At 70, Li Hui is the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat to visit Ukraine since the full-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russian forces in late February 2022.

In late April, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since the conflict began.

China had announced on that occasion that Li Hui would lead a delegation to Ukraine and other countries at an unspecified date.

Since 2019 he is Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and specialist for the former Soviet space.

In particular, he was Chinese Ambassador to Russia for ten years (2009-2019) and was therefore in regular contact with Vladimir Putin.

The announcement of his forthcoming diplomatic trip at the end of April had raised doubts about his closeness to the Russian president, but Beijing had insisted on his excellent knowledge of regional issues.

These visits by the special envoy are “new evidence of China’s commitment to promoting peace and talks,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday.

“It fully shows that China stands firmly on the side of peace,” he said.


Beijing claims to have always maintained a dialogue with Ukraine at the diplomatic level.

At the end of February, China published its 12-point position on the Ukraine crisis, in which it particularly urged respect for the territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine.

“China stands ready to continue to play a constructive role in seeking a broader international consensus on a ceasefire, an end to the war, the start of peace talks and preventing the situation from escalating,” Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

Beijing increasingly wants to play a mediating role in conflicts abroad.

In March, for example, Iran and Saudi Arabia sealed an agreement through China to restore diplomatic ties, which were severed in 2016.