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Ukraine Seeks Common Ground With China 07/24 06:16

   

   BEIJING (AP) -- Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he is 
seeking "common ground" in talks this week with his Chinese counterpart on 
ending his country's war with Russia.

   Kuleba met Wednesday with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Guangzhou, a major 
commercial and manufacturing center in southern China. It is the first visit to 
the country by a Ukrainian foreign minister since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, 
which has strained Ukraine's relations with China.

   "I am convinced that a just peace in Ukraine is in China's strategic 
interests, and China's role as a global force for peace is important," Kuleba 
said in opening remarks.

   China has close ties with Russia and has pushed for an end to the war that 
would take into account the interests of both sides. That position has put it 
at odds not only with Ukraine but also Western European countries and the 
United States, which are demanding a Russian withdrawal as the basis for any 
settlement.

   China did not participate in a peace conference in Switzerland last month 
that did not include Russia.

   Kuleba was expected to lobby Chinese officials to attend another peace 
conference planned for sometime before the American presidential election in 
early November. His visit reflects a calculation that any peace deal favorable 
to Ukraine would likely be a non-starter without China on board.

   Chinese officials maintained that the two countries have friendly and 
cooperative relations. Noting the growth in trade between them, Wang said in 
his opening remarks that ties have continued to develop normally "despite 
complex and ever-changing international and regional situations."

   Kuleba arrived in China on Tuesday and is scheduled to depart on Friday. In 
a video posted late Tuesday on his social media accounts, Kuleba said he would 
have extensive negotiations to look for common ground in the pursuit of peace 
in Ukraine.

   "We need to move to a just and stable peace," he said, according to a 
translation posted by Euromaiden Press, an English-language news site on 
Ukraine. "China can play a significant role in this. Let's go."

   His visit follows a rare public rebuke of China by Ukrainian President 
Volodymyr Zelenskyy in June. Zelenskyy accused China of helping Russia block 
countries from participating in the Swiss peace conference. China denied 
pressuring others.

   It was the first time Zelenskyy had departed from careful attempts to court 
Beijing away from its strong relationship with Moscow.

   China published a separate six-point peace plan with Brazil ahead of the 
conference The move and the timing likely angered Ukrainian officials who were 
in the midst of seeking support for their peace proposal.

   "We must avoid the competition of peace plans," Kuleba said in his social 
media video this week.

 
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