Politics & News

Zelenskyy Accuses China of Pressuring Other Countries not to Attend upcoming Ukraine Peace Talks – AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused China of helping Russia to disrupt an upcoming Swiss-organized peace conference on the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at Asia’s premier security conference, Zelenskyy said that China is pressuring other countries and their leaders not to attend the upcoming talks. Ukraine;s presidents did not reveal the countries.

“Russia, using Chinese influence in the region, using Chinese diplomats also, does everything to disrupt the peace summit,” he said at a news conference at the Shangri-La defense forum. “Regrettably this is unfortunate that such a big independent powerful country as China is an instrument in the hands of (Russian leader Vladimir Putin).”

Chinese Position on Peace Conference

China has taken a neutral stance on the war, contrasting with Ukraine, the US, and most of Europe. Its increased trade with Russia has lessened the economic impact of Western sanctions. Intelligence agencies report Chinese parts are found in Russian weaponry, despite China not directly arming its neighbor.

The Swiss had hoped China would attend the mid-June peace conference, but Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning signaled Friday that this was unlikely. China has been advocating for a peace conference with equal participation from all sides. This includes Russia, which has not received an invitation.

“There is still a clear gap between the arrangements for the meeting and the demands of the Chinese side, as well as the general expectations of the international community,” Mao said. “This makes it difficult for China to participate in the meeting.”

The foreign ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Zelenskyy’s accusation.

The Ukrainian leader said regarding China’s pressure on others, “That is not only support to Russia, that is basically support of war.”

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun spoke before Zelenskyy at the Shangri-La conference but he did not appear to be in the room when Zelenskyy made his appeal. Dong did not specifically mention the Switzerland meetings in his address to the forum, but did say “on the Ukraine crisis, China has been promoting peace talks with a responsible attitude.”

“China had not provided weapons to either side of the conflict,” he said. “We have never done anything to fan the flames.”

“We stand firmly on the side of peace and dialogue.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sat in the front row as Zelenskyy spoke. They also met on the sidelines of the conference. Austin updated on U.S. security assistance and reaffirmed U.S. commitments to Ukraine. He addressed the security conference, stating, “Putin’s war of aggression has shown us a world none of us would want.”

“We’ve all been inspired by the courage of Ukraine’s troops and the resilience of Ukraine’s people,” Austin said. “People around the world have rushed to help Ukraine defend itself, including countries across the Indo-Pacific.”

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