China 'ready to play constructive role' in Ukraine peace talks

President Xi Jinping says priority should be preventing the situation from 'spinning out of control'

Chinese President Xi Jinping said China, France and Germany should jointly support peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. AP

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China’s President Xi Jinping has called for “maximum restraint” in Ukraine and said the priority should be preventing the situation from escalating or “spinning out of control”, as he held talks with his French and German counterparts.

Separately, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry said Beijing “stands ready” to work with the international community and “carry out necessary mediation when needed".

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported Mr Xi as saying that China, France and Germany should jointly support peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Xi told French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that China is “pained to see the flames of war reignited in Europe”.

China, which has refused to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine or to call them an invasion, has repeatedly expressed its opposition to what it describes as illegal sanctions on Russia.

“We would like to call for maximum restraint to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis,” Mr Xi was quoted as saying.

Mr Xi said France and Germany should make efforts to reduce negative effects of the crisis, and expressed concern about the impact of sanctions on the stability of global finance, energy supplies, transport and supply chains.

A German government spokesperson said the three leaders "agreed to fully support all negotiations aimed at a diplomatic solution to the conflict".

"The three heads of state and government spoke out in favour of humanitarian relief and access to the contested areas," the spokesperson added.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts that are conducive to peacefully resolving the Ukraine crisis.

“China stands ready to play a constructive role in promoting peace talks and work with the international community to carry out necessary mediation when needed.”

Updated: March 08, 2022, 2:21 PM