Chinese envoy Li Hui is expected to attend a peace deal conference in Saudi Arabia, aimed at outlining terms between Ukraine and Russia, European and U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal, APA reports citing i24 News.
After China had given Russian President Vladimir Putin diplomatic and economic backing, despite his war on Ukraine, this would mark a significant shift, particularly since Beijing did not attend a previous meeting last June in Copenhagen.
According to the WSJ, China must face “an increasingly complicated set of risks” that, according to experts, gives Beijing “more incentive to push Moscow and Kyiv toward peace talks,” particularly after straining its relations with the West over its wartime trade with Russia.
The peace summit in Saudi Arabia will reportedly host key developing countries, such as India and Brazil, as well as Middle Eastern and African allies of the West. U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, was also expected to attend. It will, however, exclude Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said the meeting was “a hoax” intended to create an anti-Moscow coalition, according to Russian state news agency TASS, as reported by WSJ. However, due to Putin’s close relation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, it’s unclear whether the Kremlin was aware of China’s participation.
China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Geng Shuang, recently spoke at the international agency about food security, but stopped short of pointing any fingers. Days earlier, on July 17, the Kremlin declared a grain deal to permit safe passage for ships through the Black Sea to Ukrainian ports as “de facto ended.”
China was reportedly the biggest market for the grain deal’s output.