China outlines Xi Jinping’s plan for world peace as top diplomat set for Moscow talks

China said on Tuesday that a “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” as its top diplomat prepared to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Beijing has been positioning itself as a broker for the end of the Ukraine conflict, and has said its president Xi Jinping will deliver a “peace speech” on 24 February, the one-year anniversary of the war.

Chinese state media on Tuesday released Mr Xi’s “Global Security Initiative” or GSI, a concept paper that the Global Times said was released “with the aim of eliminating the root causes of international conflicts and improving global security”.

“GSI is open and inclusive, and if any country would join the initiative and sincerely wants to safeguard world peace, we’ll support that,” Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang said.

“We will continue to promote peace talks, provide Chinese wisdom for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis and work with the international community to promote dialogue and consultation to address the concerns of all parties and seek common security,” Mr Qin said.

“At the same time, we urge relevant countries to immediately stop adding fuel to the fire, stop shifting blame to China and stop hyping up the discourse of Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow.”

Russia has said it will welcome China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy chief, for talks in Moscow this week, with his arrival expected as early as Tuesday. There are reports that Mr Wang will hold talks with Mr Putin himself, though the Kremlin has not confirmed this.

According to China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, the top diplomat’s visit to Moscow will provide an opportunity for China and Russia to “exchange views” on “international and regional hotspot issues of shared interest”.

The Kremlin has said it does not “rule out” a meeting between Mr Wang and Mr Putin.

Beijing, which last year struck a “no limits” partnership with Moscow, has refrained from directly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States has warned of consequences if China provides military support to Russia, which Beijing says it is not doing.

“China is deeply worried that the Ukraine conflict will continue to escalate or even spiral out of control,” Mr Qin said on Tuesday after outlining Mr Xi’s plan for “world peace”.

The Chinese foreign minister also maintained that China has “always taken an objective and impartial stance based on the merits of the issue”.

He said that Mr Xi had put forward proposals regarding Ukraine that have “played a responsible and constructive role in easing the situation and de-escalating the crisis”.

China’s attempt to take on a bigger role in Ukraine comes as US president Joe Biden made his own trip to Kyiv on Monday, his first since the start of the war. He was welcomed by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who called it a “symbolic” visit from a “powerful ally”.

On Tuesday Mr Putin used a national address to lambast the West and assert that “it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield”. He added: “The Kyiv regime and their Western masters have completely taken over the economy of the country. They have destroyed the Ukrainian industry and economy.”

Responding to Mr Putin’s remarks, Mykhailo Podolyak, an official in the Ukraine president’s office, said that the Russian president demonstrated his “irrelevance and confusion” in Tuesday’s address.