Mr. Zelenskiy, it's Xi Jinping on the line

By Andreas Kluth

21 Mar 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

When the Chinese leader calls his Ukrainian counterpart, the talking points must be “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity,” writes Bloomberg's Andreas Kluth. They're topics they can both relate to.

The two most fraught conversations this week both have Chinese President Xi Jinping on one side. In Moscow, he's currently talking to his Russian counterpart and host, Vladimir Putin. In a video conference or phone call that's assumed to follow within days, he'll then interface with the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In tone, that second conversation is sure to be stilted and awkward. In substance, it's unlikely to achieve much, if anything. And yet, the nuances will be consequential - both for Ukraine's war of self-defense and for global diplomacy and world order. How should Zelenskiy approach the call?

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