Chinese FM Wang meets Ukrainian counterpart on UNGA sidelines

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Chinese FM Wang meets Ukrainian counterpart on UNGA sidelines

Beijing: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of the UN General AssemblyUN General Assembly in New York, the Chinese foreign ministry said Friday Sep 23 Thursday, the first since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, though they have held two phone calls in that time.

On Friday, the regions of Ukraine are voting on whether to become part of Russia in referendums that Kyiv and its allies have condemned as an unlawful land grab.

The ministry said that all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be supported and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected.

President Xi Jinping is trying to counter the United States by pursuing a close strategic alliance with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, despite Beijing refusing to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

China has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue, but has not taken any action to facilitate it.

Wang told Kuleba that China has always been committed to promoting peace talks, never stands idle, never adds fuel to the fire and never takes advantage of the situation for self-interest. China always stands on the side of peace and will continue to play a constructive role, he added.

My counterpart reaffirmed China's respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its rejection of the use of force as a means of resolving differences, he wrote.

In the past few months, Beijing has had several high-level meetings with Moscow, including Wang's meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, which was also on the sidelines of the UN General AssemblyUN General Assembly.

Xi has had a high-profile meeting with Putin in Uzbekistan earlier this month, which was his first state visit since the Pandemic began.

After Ukrainian forces recaptured most of the formerly occupied Kharkiv region earlier this month, the meeting with Kuleba came during a series of escalations by Putin.

The referendums in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as in the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, have been dismissed by Kyiv's Western allies as a sham.

UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres called the vote a violation of international law and the UN Charter. The voting lasts for five days comes after Putin announced last week a mandatory troop call-up for about 300,000 military-age men from Russia.

On Friday, Wang will meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the UN General AssemblyUN General Assembly, as the two rivals try to contain spiralling tensions over a range of issues.