China’s special envoy Li Hui told Ukraine “there is no panacea to resolve the crisis” as he repeated calls for Kyiv and Moscow to engage in talks to end the war, Beijing said on Thursday.

This handout picture taken on May 16, 2023 and released on May 17, 2023 by the Press Service of the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry, shows Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (5thL) and China’s special envoy Li Hui (4thR) attending a meeting during their talks in Kyiv. – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba emphasised the importance of his country’s territorial integrity in a meeting with China’s special envoy Li Hui, his ministry said on May 17, 2023. Photo: Handout/Ukrainian Foreign Ministry press-service/AFP.

China, a strategic ally of Russia, has refrained from condemning Moscow’s invasion, and has instead sought to position itself as a neutral mediator that could help end the conflict.

Li visited Ukraine on Tuesday and Wednesday, where he held talks with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and other officials.

Li is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Ukraine since Russia’s February 2022 invasion.

“There is no panacea to resolve the crisis, and all parties need to start from themselves, build mutual trust and create conditions to stop the war and talk,” said Li, China’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs, according to a statement by Beijing’s foreign ministry.

Li’s visit to Kyiv was part of a European tour to promote Beijing’s proposals to end the conflict.

Xi Jinping
Chinese leader Xi Jinping. File photo: GovHK.

Li added in his talks with Ukrainian officials including Kuleba that China would “continue to provide assistance to Ukraine within its capabilities”.

Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in March.

In April, he spoke by phone for an hour with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Western allies of Ukraine have criticised Xi for refusing to condemn the invasion and for maintaining China’s strategic alliance with Russia even as Moscow faces deepening international isolation.

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