China considers taking part in Swiss Ukraine peace talks, ambassador says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 18, 2024 | 2:03 AM

ZURICH (Reuters) – China will consider taking part in a peace conference aimed at ending the war in Ukraine which neutral Switzerland plans to host in the coming months, the Asian country’s ambassador to Bern was quoted as saying on Monday.

Wang Shihting, China’s ambassador to Switzerland, said in an interview with the Neue Zuercher Zeitung that all parties should work to end the war, which began over two years ago.

“The crisis must be prevented from getting even worse, or even getting out of control,” he said. “We are closely following the Ukraine conference that Switzerland will host, and are examining the possibility of taking part.”

The Swiss government has said it aims to hold the peace conference by this summer after the idea was floated in January.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022, then called the peace conference plan “pointless” and indicated it was doomed to fail without Moscow’s participation.

Last month, Swiss President Viola Amherd said it was doubtful that Russia would take part at the outset of talks.

In the interview, Wang stressed China had put forward a strategy for a political end to the conflict.

“The territorial sovereignty of all countries must be respected, and the U.N. Charter must be adhered to,” he said.

“We should support Russia and Ukraine resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible so that the situation can be gradually de-escalated,” Wang said.

(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Lincoln Feast)