Can China mediate peace between Russia and Ukraine?

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, during a visit to Berlin on May 9, said China is maintaining open lines of communication with all parties involved in the Ukraine-Russia conflict in pursuit of a ceasefire. Earlier in the week, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in an interview with CBS News, predicted China’s involvement will lead to peace negotiations. How realistic is that? 


Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang is touring Europe this week on trip that began in Berlin on May 9. The Russia-Ukraine conflict was high on the agenda. 

“The Ukraine issue is highly complex and cannot be resolved in a simple or emotional way. Only by keeping level-headed and rational and creating conditions for political settlements, can we end the crisis. China is not the creator or a party to the conflict, but a promoter of peace and peace talks,” said Qin Gang, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister at a press conference. 

After multiple rounds of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine that began in Feb. 2022, negotiations ceased. 

On the anniversary of the conflict, China introduced a 12-point position paper to revive peace negotiations. The paper advocates for a political settlement of the crisis. 

Russia welcomed China’s attempt to play a larger role in achieving a political settlement. Moscow said it was open to achieving the goals laid out by China.   

China followed the plan with a visit by President Xi Jinping to Moscow in March 2023.  

On the Ukrainian side, President Zelenskyy welcomed some elements of the proposal. 

In April 2023, President Xi engaged in an hour-long phone call with President Zelenskyy. During the call, China committed to sending a delegation to Ukraine to facilitate peace talks.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in a recent interview with CBS News sounded optimistic.  

“Now that China has entered the negotiation, it will come to a head, I think, by the end of the year. We will talk about negotiating processes and even actual negotiations,” he told CBS News. 

While peace is not a guarantee, is there a growing reason for optimism? 

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