Olaf Scholz asks Chinese president to promote end to Russian war on Ukraine

Xi Jinping signals potental for peace talks and criticises West for weapons supply to Kyiv

German chancellor Olaf Scholz has urged Xi Jinping to play a bigger role in securing a just peace in Ukraine, telling him that Russia’s invasion affected Europe’s core interests. The Chinese leader warned that the conflict was in danger of spiralling out of control but indicated that peace talks may be some way off.

“China is not a party to the Ukraine crisis, but has consistently promoted talks for peace in its own way. China encourages and supports all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis, and supports the holding in due course of an international peace conference that is recognised by both Russia and Ukraine and ensures the equal participation of all parties and fair discussions on all peace plans,” he said.

The two leaders met at the end of a three-day trip to China by Mr Scholz, his second visit to the country since becoming chancellor. China is officially neutral in the war but it has offered diplomatic and economic support to Russia and Mr Xi enjoys a close political relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Mr Scholz said later that Mr Xi had agreed to back an international peace conference in Switzerland this summer. And the chancellor said China’s word carried weight in Moscow. “I have therefore asked President Xi to influence Russia so that Putin finally calls off his senseless campaign, withdraws his troops and ends this terrible war,” he said.


Beijing has not supplied weapons to Russia but Ukraine’s allies complain that some exports such as machine tools that are ostensibly for civilian use could also be used for military purposes. But as Mr Xi outlined four principles for peace, he took a swipe at the western powers for “adding fuel to the fire” by supplying weapons to Ukraine.

“A number of principles should be followed: first, focusing on the overall interest of peace and stability rather than seeking selfish gains; second, cooling down the situation rather than adding fuel to the fire; third, accumulating conditions for restoring peace rather than further aggravating tensions; and fourth, reducing the negative impact on the world economy rather than undermining the stability of global industrial and supply chains,” he said.

Mr Scholz said Germany opposed protectionism and supported free trade but he stressed the importance of ensuring that trade competition was fair. The EU is investigating whether Chinese subsidies for electric vehicles and green energy technology gives its companies an unfair advantage, but Mr Xi said the world benefited from China’s exports.

“China’s export of electric vehicles, lithium batteries and photovoltaic products has not only enriched global supply and eased global inflationary pressure, but also made important contribution to the global response to climate change and the green and low-carbon transition,” he said.

Mr Scholz said German companies wanted to invest more in China but the framework in which they operated must be improved.

“With this we mean equal market access and fair conditions for competition, the protection of intellectual property and a reliable judicial system,” he said. “We want to work on concrete improvements on those areas.”

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times