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China Lobbies Its Own 'Peace Plan' Ahead Of Switzerland Summit

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China Lobbies Its Own 'Peace Plan' Ahead Of Switzerland Summit

Chinese representatives will not attend the summit.

China, skipping a weekend summit on a peace plan for Ukraine, has been lobbying governments for its alternative plan, 10 diplomats said, with one calling Beijing's campaign a “subtle boycott” of the global meeting in Switzerland.

In conversations with developing nations, China has not overtly criticised the Swiss summit or directly asked countries to abstain, the Beijing-based diplomats told Reuters. But one who was briefed on the outreach said Beijing has told developing nations the meeting would prolong the war, while two diplomats with direct knowledge of the matter said China has been telling Western nations that many developing countries are aligned with its views on the conference.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said last week: “China sincerely hopes that a peace conference will not turn into a platform used to create bloc confrontation. Not attending it does not mean not supporting peace.”

As the summit approaches, China has intensified its outreach through meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries, phone calls and messages to foreign missions on China's WeChat platform, diplomats said.

Beijing's special envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, last month visited Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and has met officials of developing countries at their embassies in Beijing, the diplomats said.

While explaining why it will not attend the summit, China has been trying to enlist developing nations to join the six-point peace plan it issued with Brazil last month.

The proposal calls for an international peace conference “held at a proper time that is recognised by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation of all parties as well as fair discussion of all peace plans.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has suggested that China could arrange such a conference. Putin has expressed support for China's plan for a peaceful settlement of the crisis, saying Beijing had a full understanding of what lay behind it.

Forty-five countries have expressed support for the proposal, with more than two dozen either joining or “seriously considering” it, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last week.

Reuters could not independently determine what impact China's lobbying has had, but the number of registered participants at the Lucerne summit is down.

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