(Bloomberg) -- China said its top diplomat discussed working toward a political solution in Ukraine with a French official, as President Xi Jinping tries to position himself as a potential peacemaker in the conflict.
Wang Yi and President Emmanuel Macron’s foreign policy adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, agreed during a Monday call to “create conditions to begin the political settlement process,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement, without elaborating on what this would entail. The French Foreign Ministry hasn’t published an account of the call on its website.
Macron had earlier tasked Bonne to work with Wang to establish a framework that could be used as a basis for future negotiations. It’s not clear if Macron has support for his plan from Kyiv and its allies, many of whom have dismissed ceasefire proposals that would allow Russia to keep territorial gains.
READ MORE: Chinese Envoy Says Russia, Ukraine Talks Difficult Right Now
Any future negotiations would be dependent on several conditions, including a successful Ukrainian spring offensive that would put Kyiv in a position of strength during any talks, Bloomberg previously reported.
Beijing published a 12-point position paper on Russia’s war in Ukraine earlier this year that called for a cease-fire. Indonesia’s defense minister echoed that solution at a security forum in Singapore this month, with a proposal that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said sounded “like a Russian plan.”
French efforts to work with China over a resolution in Ukraine came under scrutiny again in April after Beijing’s envoy to the country dismissed the sovereignty of some ex-Soviet states. Lu Shaye last week defended those comments, saying they’d been made into a “big deal.”
The remarks were his “personal opinion” and didn’t “contradict China’s official foreign policy,” he said in an interview with a French media outlet, published on the website of China’s French embassy.
That position appeared to contradict a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement after his comments that Beijing “respects the status of the former Soviet republics as sovereign countries after the Soviet Union’s dissolution.”
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