Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
April 26, 2023
President Xi talked with President Zelenskyy today, even though it was expected, it grabbed the global news headlines. It is the only sign so far that the Proxy war between the US and Russia in Ukraine may be heading to a cease fire soon. Of course, the day of cease fire is unknown, and the process is expected to be tough. But it is a ray of hope because China is taking an active and direct role in the negotiations. China has been endorsed and accepted by both warning parties as the middleman. China probably is the only nation in the world qualified as the middleman.
However, the US is still the real deal maker or breaker.
Basically, the US needs to be directly in the loop of any peace process, but that is still not a sure bet. For example, there was the six-party mechanism working on the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, so far it is dead in the water because the US had decided that mechanism was not effective. The same goes with the de-nuclearization of Iran, the multi-party mechanism including the USA, reached an agreement JCPOA. But the next US Administration simply withdrew, and it is still in limbo.
The Ukraine war cease fire process managed by China will be a major challenge because the fierce competition of global influence between the US and China.
One hope is that the US could be totally occupied by the next general election due to a re-match of Biden-Trump from now to early 2025. It is not only a test of China’s capacity as a peace maker, but also it is a test of Europeans’ independence of US influence.
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy upbeat after talk with China’s Xi
DAVID RISING and JOE MCDONALD
Wed, April 26, 2023 at 4:12 AM PDT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had a “long and meaningful” phone call Wednesday, their first known contact since Russia invaded Ukraine over a year ago, and Beijing appointed an envoy to pursue a “political settlement.”
The hour-long call came two months after Beijing, which has long been aligned with Russia, said it wanted to act as a mediator and a month after Xi visited Moscow.
Zelenskyy was upbeat about the conversation, which offered him the chance to insert his views into what had been a bilateral dialogue between Moscow and Beijing.
An official readout on his website called the conversation “productive” and said it leads the way toward “possible interaction with the aim of establishing a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing’s “core stance is to facilitate talks for peace,” announcing that an envoy — a former ambassador to Russia — would visit Ukraine to seek a “political settlement.”
The ministry’s statement struck a positive tone, giving a nod to Kyiv’s insistence that its territory cannot be broken up by Russia’s annexations and making clear that Beijing values its longstanding ties with Ukraine.
“Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the political foundation of China-Ukraine relations,” the statement said. “China’s readiness to develop relations with Ukraine is consistent and clear-cut. No matter how the international situation evolves, China will work with Ukraine to advance mutually beneficial cooperation.”
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova commended China’s approach, praising Beijing’s “readiness to strive to establish a (peace) negotiations process,” while slamming Kyiv’s “rejection of any sound initiatives aimed at a settlement.”
“We think that’s a good thing,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
China has announced it was keen to act as mediator in the war that has reenergized NATO. Xi’s position reinforces China’s claim that it’s neutral in the war, despite blocking U.N. efforts to condemn the Kremlin’s invasion.
China’s Xi held phone talks with Ukraine’s Zelenskyy, Chinese media reports
NHK 4 hours ago
China’s state-run media has reported that President Xi Jinping held telephone talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday.
CCTV quoted Xi as saying that with Ukraine, China will push forward cooperation between the countries. He reportedly indicated plans to send a representative of the Chinese government to Ukraine and other relevant countries.
Zelenskyy is said to have replied that he hopes to cooperate with China to protect world peace and stability. Zelenskyy tweeted later on Wednesday, “I had a long and meaningful phone call with President Xi Jinping.”
CNN: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Zelensky described it as a “long and meaningful phone call.”
The call comes as Beijing ramps up efforts to position itself as a potential peacemaker, though it has claimed neutrality and not publicly denounced Russia’s invasion.
Xi, Zelenskyy talk on ties, Ukraine crisis on phone
By GT staff reporters Published: Apr 26, 2023 07:21 PM Updated: Apr 27, 2023 12:56 AM
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a phone call on Wednesday at the invitation of the latter, during which the two leaders exchanged views on China-Ukraine relations and the Ukraine crisis.
Chinese analysts said that China will engage more on the diplomatic front to contribute to a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, and the role that China could play has been sincerely welcomed by both Kiev and Moscow, despite some voices from the West, especially the US, that have tried to distort China’s mediation efforts.
Xi said in the phone call that China will send a special representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian affairs to visit Ukraine and other countries to conduct in-depth communication with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Xi stressed that China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, will not choose to be a bystander to the Ukraine crisis, or “add fuel to the fire,” or use the crisis as an opportunity to make profit.
“On the Ukraine crisis, China always stands on the side of peace, and China’s core position is to promote peace via talks,” Xi noted.
Zelenskyy congratulated President Xi on his re-election and commended China for its remarkable achievements. He expressed confidence that under the leadership of President Xi, China will successfully address various challenges and continue to move forward. China upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter in international affairs and has significant influence on the international stage.
The Ukrainian side is committed to the one-China policy, and hopes to advance all-round bilateral cooperation with China, open up a new chapter in Ukraine-China relations, and jointly safeguard world peace and stability. He thanked China for providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and welcomed China’s important role in restoring peace and seeking diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the political foundation of China-Ukraine relations, Xi said. “China’s readiness to develop relations with Ukraine is consistent and clear-cut. No matter how the international situation evolves, China will work with Ukraine to advance mutually beneficial cooperation,” said the Chinese president.
From calls to actions
In a 12-point position paper called “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis,” issued on the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine military conflict in February, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called for ceasing hostilities and resuming peace talks, stopping unilateral sanctions and abandoning the Cold War mentality.
But mediation of the Ukraine crisis is more difficult and more complicated than the Iran-Saudi deal, because the two major Middle Eastern powers did not directly fight each other, and Riyadh and Teheran have strategic autonomy and are able to make independent strategic decisions. However, Kiev has been deeply affected by Washington, Zhang said. Therefore, it could be too early to set high expectation for a peaceful solution immediately, and the whole peace process will take time, said experts.