10th June 2023
Pedro Sánchez and Xi Jinping
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Pedro Sánchez urges Xi Jinping to hold talks with Ukraine’s Zelensky

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Friday that he had urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to speak with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, while visiting Beijing for talks aimed at boosting ties between China and Spain.

Speaking at a press conference at the Spanish embassy in Beijing, Sánchez said he had discussed ‘China’s position’ on Russia’s war in Ukraine in meetings with Xi and other top Chinese officials.

He also accused Russian leader Vladimir Putin of seeking to ‘weaken’ the EU’s ‘multilateral project for peace and welfare’.

‘I encouraged President Xi to have a conversation with President Zelensky to learn first-hand about this peace plan of the Ukrainian government,’ Sánchez said.

Zelensky has said repeatedly he would be open to talks with Xi – an overture the Chinese leader has yet to respond to, despite multiple rounds of talks with Putin.

Beijing last month unveiled a 12-point paper calling for a ‘political settlement’ of the crisis in Ukraine. The document was immediately met with scepticism from Ukraine’s allies, though it was welcomed by Kyiv.

Sánchez on Friday also welcomed Beijing’s stance opposing the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict – as well as its stated support for ‘territorial integrity’.

‘I want to acknowledge the effort that the Chinese government has made to position itself,’ he said.

Pedro Sánchez and Xi Jinping
Pedro Sánchez and Xi Jinping on 31 March 2023. (Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa)

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