White House is ‘encouraging President Xi to reach out to President Zelenskyy,’ but no confirmation of meeting
U.S. officials have been encouraging Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about Russia’s invasion, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday.
“We believe that [the People’s Republic of China] and President Xi himself should hear directly the Ukrainian perspective and not just the Russian perspective on this,” Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Monday that Xi plans to meet with Zelenskyy after visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week.
“We have spoken to our Ukrainian counterparts today – I saw the news accounts – they have not yet actually gotten any confirmation that there will be a telephone call or a video conference,” Sullivan said. “We hope that there will be. That would be a good thing because it would potentially bring more balance and perspective to the way the PRC is approaching this, and we hope it would continue to dissuade them from providing lethal assistance to Russia.”
President Biden said last month that he wanted to speak with Xi after the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.
No call has taken place, but Sullivan said Monday that the two world leaders will speak after the conclusion of the Chinese parliament’s annual meeting, where Xi was just elected to a third five-year term.
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China unveiled a peace proposal between Russia and Ukraine last month, calling for territorial integrity of both countries to be respected, but failing to outline what will happen to land Russia has occupied since invading last year.
The plan also called for an end to unilateral sanctions against Russia and appeared to take a veiled shot at NATO, saying that the “security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs.”
Zelenskyy appeared lukewarm on the proposal.
“I believe that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine is not bad,” Zelenskyy said at a press conference after the peace plan was release. “But the question is what follows the words. The question is in the steps and where they will lead to.”
In the three months preceding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February, U.S. officials held several meetings with their Chinese counterparts, urging them to intervene and discourage Putin from attacking, the New York Times reported. Their overtures were rebuffed each time.
The potential meeting between Xi and Zelenskyy comes amid increased tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan.
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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the coming weeks, which is sure to draw backlash from China.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang said last week that his country and the U.S. are heading for “conflict and confrontation” over the Taiwan issue.