The President of China, Xi Jinping on Wednesday, held a “long and meaningful call” with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The long-anticipated contact was the first since Russia invaded the country following Ukraine’s decision to join NATO 14 months ago.
Xi appealed for negotiations to begin between Moscow and Kyiv, according to a Chinese government readout of the call, which Beijing said was requested by Zelenskyy.
The U.S. and its allies support Ukraine militarily and financially.
John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said the U.S. welcomed the call as a “good thing.”
“We’ve been saying for quite some time that we believe it’s important for President Xi and PRC officials to avail themselves of the Ukrainian perspective on this illegal and unprovoked invasion by Russia,” Kirby said to reporters.
Earlier, Kirby, told NBC News, “We will let these two leaders speak to the details of their conversation.”
A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that it was “way too soon after just getting word of this conversation to speculate about” whether the call should give optimism to China’s peace plan.
“Thus far, China has not shown itself to be unbiased when it comes to supporting Russia,” they said.
Hopes for a cease-fire are not high internationally, with heavy fighting raging in the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut, and Ukraine expected to launch a spring counteroffensive in the coming weeks.