Ukraine war: Polish official warns China’s peace envoy that Russian withdrawal is only solution
- Polish deputy foreign minister Wojciech Gerwel tells Li Hui of ‘grave consequences’ for EU-China relations if Beijing provides military support to Russia
- Envoy meets with Polish officials in Warsaw after a two-day trip to Kyiv, and will follow it with stops in Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Moscow
In both capitals, he was given near-identical messages, focused on the view that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace plan is the only legitimate way to end the 15-month war.
“The withdrawal of Russian troops and the return of unlawfully seized territories by Russia are the only acceptable solution to achieve a just peace.”
A Chinese version of the meeting, released a few hours after the Polish account, stuck closely to previous talking points from the ministry of foreign affairs.
“Li Hui said that the escalation and protraction of the Ukrainian crisis is not in the interests of all parties. China hopes that the war will subside as soon as possible and the peace talks can be restarted,” according to the note.
It added that China would look for a “political solution to the crisis, and gradually accumulate consensus and lay a solid foundation for the ceasefire and cessation of war”.
Gerwel noted “with concern Beijing’s declarations concerning its persistent will to strengthen its bilateral relations with Russia, the aggressor state”, according to the account. Warsaw asked for “concrete help” from China in securing the “safe functioning of the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia”.
Justyna Szczudlik, a China analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs, said the Polish government had issued “a de facto” open rejection of China’s 12-point plan and “full support for the idea that Ukraine should decide what the victory and the end of war means”.
“The Polish ministry has effectively confronted China with its own principles and norms, such as non-interference, the five principles of peaceful coexistence, territorial integrity,” Szczudlik said.
In each of the western European capitals, officials said, he can expect a similar response. On Wednesday, the respective governments coordinated their positions on a call, ahead of Li’s whistle-stop tour, according to people familiar with the discussion.
In Kyiv on Tuesday, Li met with Zelensky, according to the Chinese foreign ministry. However, Ukraine’s official account said that the meeting was handled by the head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak.
Yermak along with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tried to convince Li of the virtues of Ukraine’s own peace plan, Kyiv said.
“We are interested in China being involved in the implementation of the Ukrainian peace formula,” Yermak said.