Chinese president Xi Jinping has reiterated a call for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine after surprise talks with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s deputy security council chief, who passed on a note from Vladimir Putin on the war.
Xi on Wednesday said China would “continue to promote peace talks” to end the 10-month conflict, which has severely disrupted global supply chains and tested Moscow’s “no limits” partnership with Beijing, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
“It’s hoped that the relevant parties concerned can stay calm and exercise restraint, engage in comprehensive dialogues, and resolve mutual security concerns through political means,” Xi said.
The trip, not announced in advance, was the first time Xi has met a member of the Russian president’s inner circle since expressing his “concerns” over the war to President Putin at a summit in Uzbekistan in September.
But despite that rare admission of differences, China has not condemned Russia for starting the war, blamed Nato for provoking Moscow, and helped soften the blow from western sanctions by ramping up its purchases of Russian commodities.
Medvedev, a former stand-in president for Putin and prime minister, said the talks were “extremely useful” and covered issues including the war in Ukraine as well as economic and industrial co-operation.
The message from Putin hailed the “unprecedented level” of Russia-China ties and expressed “certainty” they would continue after Xi won an unprecedented third term at the helm of China’s governing Communist party in October, according to a statement from Medvedev’s office.
Medvedev and Xi’s views also “broadly coincided” on issues of “strategic foreign policy co-ordination” international organisations such as the UN and G20, the statement added.
Russia has attempted to deepen its pivot to Asia to compensate for its lost trade links with Europe and security co-operation with the US since Putin ordered the invasion in February.
But the Russian president has only left the former Soviet Union once for a trip to Iran in July, otherwise limiting his international travel to close allies such as Belarus and Turkmenistan while skipping major summits such as the G20 meeting in Indonesia in November.
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