Monday, July 15, 2024

Zelenskyy accuses China of pressuring other countries not to attend peace talks


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Singapore, June 2: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused China on Sunday of helping Russia to disrupt an upcoming Swiss-organised peace conference on the war in Ukraine.
Speaking at Asia’s premier security conference, Zelenskyy said that China is pressuring other countries and their leaders not to attend the upcoming talks. He did not say which ones.
“Russia, using Chinese influence in the region, using Chinese diplomats also, does everything to disrupt the peace summit,” he said at a news conference at the Shangri-La defence forum.
“Regrettably this is unfortunate that such a big independent powerful country as China is an instrument in the hands of (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin.”
China has staked out what it says is a neutral position on the war, putting it at odds with Ukraine, the United States and most of Europe. Its trade with Russia has grown, easing the economic impact of Western sanctions. And American, Ukrainian and other intelligence agencies say there is evidence that Chinese parts are winding up in Russian weaponry, even if China is not directly arming its neighbour.
The Swiss had been hoping China would attend the peace conference in mid-June, but Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning signalled on Friday that it was unlikely. China has been calling for a peace conference with equal participation of all sides, including Russia, which has not been invited.
“There is still a clear gap between the arrangements for the meeting and the demands of the Chinese side, as well as the general expectations of the international community,” Mao said.
“This makes it difficult for China to participate in the meeting.” The foreign ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Zelenskyy’s accusation.
The Ukrainian leader said of China’s pressure on others, “That is not only support to Russia, that is basically support of war.” In a speech to the security conference earlier in the day, Zelenskyy urged top defence officials to attend the upcoming talks in Switzerland, saying he was disappointed at the failure of some countries to commit to joining.
Chinese Defence Minister Dong Jun spoke before Zelenskyy at the Shangri-La conference but he did not appear to be in the room when Zelenskyy made his appeal.
Zelenskyy said that Ukraine had proposals to make at the summit as a basis for peace, addressing nuclear security, food security, the release of prisoners of war and the return of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia. (AP)


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