NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that he welcomed the conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that took place on Wednesday, but noted that Beijing still hasn’t condemned Russia’s invasion.
“I welcome the call between President Zelensky and President Xi. I think it’s important also that China gets a better understanding of Ukrainian perspectives. This doesn’t change the fact that China has not been able to condemn Russia’s illegal war, illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference in Luxembourg.
He added that, “NATO allies have expressed strong support to President Zelensky’s peace plan, which includes of course, full respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
Xi and Zelensky spoke by phone on Wednesday, in their first known conversation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Zelensky, who has long expressed interest in speaking with Xi, said he had “a long and meaningful phone call” with the Chinese leader that lasted for an hour. “We discussed a full range of topical issues of bilateral relations. Particular attention was paid to the ways of possible cooperation to establish a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a statement.
“There can be no peace at the expense of territorial compromises,” said Zelensky.
In a readout, China’s Foreign Ministry quoted Xi as telling Zelensky that “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the political basis of China-Ukrainian relations.” Xi also reiterated Beijing’s point that China’s “core position” on the Ukraine conflict is to “promote peace and talks.”