By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) - China sought a push by EU leaders toward a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis as a two-day summit of 27 European heads of state and governments began.
“China stays committed to its basic position of promoting peace through talks,” Chinese chief foreign affairs advisor, Wang Yi, told Emmanuel Bonne, the French president's top diplomatic advisor.
The pair held a telephone call late Thursday at the request of Paris, according to a readout from Beijing.
Referring to President Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow, Wang said a statement by the Chinese president and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, “made an important interpretation of the Ukraine issue, sent a message of peace to the international community, and demonstrated the wish for dialogue.”
Xi paid a state visit to Russia earlier this week. It was his ninth since 2013 when he was first elected president.
The Chinese president stressed in talks with Putin that "voices for peace and rationality" on the Ukraine issue "are building."
Putin replied: "Russia is open to talks for peace."
“It met the common will of most countries, and identified the right direction for a political settlement of the crisis,” said Wang.
Recent developments on the Ukraine crisis and the EU’s response to the war will be discussed at the summit.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will join the summit via a video link.
“China hopes that France and other European countries can also play their due roles in this regard,” Wang told Bonne.
He said: “Ceasing hostilities, resuming peace talks, and a political settlement of the crisis should become a strategic consensus between China and Europe.”
According to Beijing, Bonne told Wang: “On the Ukraine issue, France does not support bloc confrontation.”
“Both France and China hope to end the crisis through political means and negotiation.
“France is ready to make joint efforts with China to facilitate the cessation of hostilities and seek a peaceful solution,” he added.