China denies claim its ‘putting pressure’ on countries over Ukraine peace summit

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China on Monday denied accusations by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that it was working to prevent other countries from attending a planned peace summit on the war in Ukraine.

“On peace talks, China’s position is fair and just. It does not target any third country, and of course is not aimed at Switzerland’s hosting of this summit for peace,” spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a regular press briefing.

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Zelenskyy said at a security forum in Singapore on Sunday that Beijing was “working hard today to prevent countries from coming to the peace summit” due to be hosted by Switzerland later this month.

Kyiv hopes the summit will help it win broad international backing for its vision of the terms needed to end Russia’s invasion.

China criticised the conference last week, saying it would be “difficult” for it to attend if Russia did not participate.

Beijing’s foreign ministry said Monday that “China’s position is open and transparent, and there is absolutely no instance of us putting pressure on other countries”.

Zelenskyy said Sunday that more than 100 countries and organizations had signed up to the conference so far.

China insists it is a neutral party in the conflict and is striving to bring an end to hostilities through dialogue.

But Beijing has been criticised by Western nations for cultivating strong ties with Moscow and giving Russian President Vladimir Putin diplomatic and political cover to wage a war of aggression.

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