Ukraine wants China to play a more “noticeable role” in halting the war being waged by Russia on its territory and also to become a future guarantor of its security, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday.
Andriy Yermak, who heads Zelenskiy’s office, also said he expected a dialogue “very soon” between Ukraine’s leader and Chinese President Xi Jinping, without elaborating.
China, the world’s no. 2 economy, has long been forging closer energy, trade and security ties with Russia but is also Ukraine’s biggest trading partner. It has resisted pressure from Western countries to condemn Russia’s invasion.
“So far we’ve seen China’s neutral position. And, as I said before, we believe that China … should play a more noticeable role in bringing this war to (an) end and in building up a new global security system,” Yermak told a virtual news conference organised by the Chatham House think-tank in London.
“We also expect China to contribute meaningfully to this new system of security for Ukraine and we also expect China to be one of the guarantors within the framework of this security system,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
“We treat China with utmost respect and we expect it to play a pro-active role there.”
Before Russia’s invasion, Kyiv had said it wanted security guarantees from major powers, calling the existing global security architecture “almost broken”.
China and Russia are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, along with the United States, Britain and France.
Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, aspires to join NATO and the European Union, but Moscow firmly opposes those plans. Beijing has also criticised NATO’s eastern expansion.
The United States warned China last week against helping Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
Beijing has said it wants a diplomatic solution to the conflict, and that it supports the territorial integrity of both Russia and Ukraine, while also recognising Moscow’s “legitimate” security concerns.
Moscow says what it calls its “special military operation” is aimed at disarming Ukraine and ridding it of dangerous nationalists who threaten its own security. Kyiv and Western countries say this is a pretext for waging an unprovoked war against a sovereign democratic state.