Ukrainian official in Beijing urges China to attend peace summit

Philippines-China Foreign Ministry Consultations

(Reuters) -Ukraine's first deputy foreign minister visited China on Wednesday and urged it to send a delegation to a planned summit on Ukraine this month in Switzerland, in the apparent hope it was still possible to persuade China to attend.

Russia has not been invited to participate in the June 15-16 meeting. Beijing has so far said it will stay away, describing the attendance of both warring sides as a prerequisite for any substantive peace conference.

"The Ukrainian side expressed hope that China's participation in the event could be a good opportunity to make a practical contribution to achieving a just and lasting peace in Ukraine," the Ukrainian foreign ministry said following a meeting in Beijing between First Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Sybiha and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong.

Kyiv says more than 100 countries have accepted its invitation to the summit, to discuss provisions of a peace plan outlined by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to end the full-scale Russian invasion now in its third year.

In a statement on Sybiha's meeting with Sun, the Chinese foreign ministry made no mention of the request for China to attend the summit.

The two sides "exchanged views on the Ukrainian crisis and international and regional issues of common concern," the Chinese ministry said.

Moscow has ridiculed the idea of a summit without its participation as pointless. Ukraine has accused Moscow of trying to disrupt the conference.

China proclaimed a "no limits" partnership with Russia just days before Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but portrays itself as neutral in the conflict.

It put forward a 12-point paper more than a year ago that set out general principles for ending the war, which the two warring sides have welcomed. China and Brazil last week signed a joint statement calling for Russia-Ukraine peace talks.

(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa; Additional reporting by Ryan WooEditing by Peter Graff, Alexandra Hudson)