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China pushes rival Ukraine peace plan before Swiss summit, diplomats say to Reuters

While China will not attend the summit, it has been lobbying governments for its alternative plan, with one diplomat calling Beijing’s campaign a “subtle boycott” of the global meeting in Switzerland.
Russian and Chinese national flags are displayed at Tiananmen Gate. Illustrative image. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
Russian and Chinese national flags are displayed at Tiananmen Gate. Illustrative image. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
China pushes rival Ukraine peace plan before Swiss summit, diplomats say to Reuters

As multiple states and organizations have registered to take part in the summit on 15-16 June in the alpine resort of Lucerne, Switzerland, China will not attend the summit. Having close ties to Russia, China says it will not attend the conference because it does not meet Beijing’s requirements, including the participation of Russia.

Instead, Reuters reports that China has been lobbying governments for its alternative plan, 10 diplomats said, with one calling Beijing’s campaign a “subtle boycott” of the global meeting in Switzerland.

In conversations with developing nations, China has not overtly criticized the Swiss summit or directly asked countries to abstain, the Beijing-based diplomats told Reuters.

But one who was briefed on the outreach said Beijing has told developing nations the meeting would prolong the war, while two diplomats with direct knowledge of the matter said China has been telling Western nations that many developing countries are aligned with its views on the conference.

Responding to Reuters’ questions, China’s foreign ministry said its position on the Swiss conference was “fair, just and open”.

“China has been in close communication with relevant parties, including Switzerland and Ukraine, and encourages the equal participation of all parties at the conference as well as fair discussion of all plans,” China’s foreign ministry stated.

In addition, ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said last week: “China sincerely hopes that a peace conference will not turn into a platform used to create bloc confrontation. Not attending it does not mean not supporting peace.”

Chinese-Brazilian alternative peace plan

As the summit approaches, China has intensified its outreach through meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries, phone calls and messages to foreign missions on China’s WeChat platform, diplomats said.
Beijing’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, last month visited Türkiye, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and has met officials of developing countries at their embassies in Beijing, the diplomats said.
While explaining why it will not attend the summit, China has been trying to enlist developing nations to join the six-point peace plan it issued with Brazil last month.
The proposal calls for an international peace conference “held at a proper time that is recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation of all parties as well as fair discussion of all peace plans.”
China’s foreign ministry noted more than 100 countries had supported the proposal, “reflecting the common expectations of the international community and the biggest common denominator in the world today.”
“We encourage even more countries to support and join the six-point consensus,” China’s foreign ministry proclaimed.
Reuters could not independently determine what impact China’s lobbying has had, but the number of registered participants at the Lucerne summit is down from the 107 that Zelenskyy’s office had said were confirmed by early June.
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