Chinese PM not on my level – Zelensky
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed on Wednesday that he had not actually sought to meet Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the World Economic Forum (WEF) gathering in Davos this week. The remarks come amid media reports that China’s top official shot down Zelensky’s request for a meeting at the event.
The Premier is not the person calling the shots in China, Zelensky asserted, suggesting Li was not sufficiently high-ranking to justify a meeting.
“There is a Chinese Premier – then our prime minister will meet with him. I would love to meet with the leader of China. As far as I know, [in China] Xi Jinping makes decisions, and in Ukraine, I make decisions. I don’t need just any dialogues; I need important decisions from the leaders who make these decisions,” Zelensky stated.
The snub from Zelensky comes amid media reports suggesting the Ukrainian president actually wanted to meet Li at the forum, but the request was shot down by the Chinese side. Thus far, Beijing has not commented on the prospect of any high-profile meetings with the Ukrainian leadership or responded to Zelensky’s remarks.
Earlier in the day, Politico reported that China has ruled out any “diplomatic encounters” with Ukraine in Davos altogether at Russia’s behest. “Beijing rejected Kiev’s request for a meeting at some point during their mutual Swiss visits,” a senior US official told the outlet.
Another senior unnamed Ukrainian official, however, told Politico that no meeting between Li and Zelensky was ever planned to begin with. Ahead of the WEF, Zelensky’s chief of administration, Andrey Yermak, stated that talks with China would be essential to promote Kiev’s so-called “peace plan.”
The controversial 10-point proposal list, which has been promoted by Zelensky amongst Ukraine’s partners for about a year already, effectively demands Russian capitulation. Moscow has rejected the plan as an “absurd” scheme, dismissing it as a publicity stunt by Kiev.