Li Hui, a Chinese special representative for Eurasian affairs and former ambassador to Moscow, will be the envoy traveling to
Li Hui, a Chinese special representative for Eurasian affairs and former ambassador to Moscow, will be the envoy traveling to Ukraine and Russia to negotiate a diplomatic resolution to the war.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, China has remained ostensibly neutral, abstaining from UN votes, abiding by some Western sanctions, and warning Russia about the use of nuclear weapons. Practically speaking, however, China is allied with Russia, having declared a “no limits” partnership with the Kremlin and accused the US and NATO of provoking the Russian invasion.
China is taking an increasingly active role on the international stage and after the successful mediation of Saudi-Iran relations, it may see a resolution in Ukraine as the next prospect for displaying its soft power. For now, President Zelenskyy has signaled that Ukraine is open to considering China’s peace proposal, despite hesitance from Western allies. Given its close ties to Putin and the Russian establishment, Ukrainian leaders are unlikely to treat China as a neutral mediator nor trust the Chinese leadership to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Nevertheless, both Western and Ukrainian leaders recognize China’s growing leverage over Russia and its potential role in bringing Moscow to the negotiation table.