China will send a special envoy to Ukraine, Russia and other European nations from Monday, Beijing said on Friday, the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat to visit the war-torn country since Moscow’s invasion last year.
“From May 15, Ambassador Li Hui, special representative of the Chinese government for Eurasian Affairs, will visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia to communicate with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press conference.
Li’s tour showed China’s “commitment to promoting peace and talks,” Wang said.
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“It fully shows that China firmly stands on the side of peace,” he said.
“China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in building more international consensus on the ceasefire, the cessation of war, the opening of peace talks, and the avoidance of escalation of the situation.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone last month.
Beijing then announced that Li – China’s ambassador to Russia from 2009 to 2019 - would lead a delegation to Ukraine.
But the choice of Li as special envoy has raised eyebrows.
Shortly before leaving Moscow as ambassador, President Vladimir Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship medal.