Spain’s Prime Minister to Visit Xi in China to Discuss Ukraine

MADRID — The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will travel next week to China for talks with President Xi Jinping, and intends to discuss China’s framework for negotiating a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine, he announced on Thursday.

Mr. Sánchez, speaking to reporters at a European Union meeting in Brussels, said he intended to “find out first hand” what Mr. Xi’s peace framework consists of and to transmit the message that Ukraine must establish the conditions for talks.

Mr. Xi, who just returned to Beijing after a state visit to Moscow, has been trying to build support for his peace framework, which has received a cold reception in the West. The United States and other allies of Ukraine have said China’s proposal for an immediate cease-fire would only help Russia consolidate its territorial gains.

“The most important thing is to guarantee a stable and lasting peace,” Mr. Sánchez said. “And that means respecting the United Nations Charter, the territorial integrity that is being violated by Russia in Ukraine and the conditions established by the Ukrainians to start the peace dialogue.”

Spain under Mr. Sánchez has been a staunch ally of Ukraine, sending military supplies and promising to contribute modern battle tanks to Kyiv’s war effort. But the Spanish prime minister has also signaled that he is open to the possibility that China, which has remained allied with Russia, might be able to mediate peace talks, a position that differentiates him from other European leaders.

Spain takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency for six months in July, giving Mr. Sánchez a bigger platform for influencing the bloc than he usually has.

Mr. Sánchez’s trip takes place in the context of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Spain and China, and the two countries expect to reach trade agreements, a senior official in Mr. Sánchez’s office said.

The prime minister will begin his trip next Thursday, with economic meetings on the Chinese island of Hainan, at the Boao Forum for Asia, a conference modeled after the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The next day, he will travel to Beijing for meetings with Mr. Xi, Prime Minister Li Qiang and Zhao Leji, the chairman of the National People’s Congress, his office said.

The Spanish defense ministry confirmed on Thursday that it was shipping six modern Leopard tanks to Ukraine next week after tests. “Once the pending firing tests are completed, at the end of next week, the tanks will be ready to be sent to Ukraine,” defense officials said.

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