Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for a dialogue in resolving the Ukrainian crisis as he held online talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, saying Beijing will "play a constructive role" for its peaceful settlement, state-run media said.
"The road to peace talks will not be smooth, but as long as the efforts are not given up, the prospect of peace will always exist," Xi was quoted as telling Putin by China Central Television.
The Chinese leader also said Moscow has never rejected the idea of resolving the conflict through diplomatic negotiations and Beijing appreciates that.
Following Russia's invasion of its neighbor in February, Beijing has refrained from condemning Moscow and has opposed sanctions imposed by Western nations. But Xi has expressed his concerns about the war and has objected to the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons in the Eastern European country.
During the talks, Putin expressed willingness for Moscow and Beijing to boost military cooperation and touted bilateral relations as "the best ever," Russia's Tass news agency said.
The Russian leader also said, "In the context of soaring geopolitical tensions, the importance of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership as a stabilizing factor is growing," according to the Russian Embassy in Beijing, in reference to the Western nations' sanctions on Moscow.
Putin said Russia and China share the same vision of transformation now under way globally, adding that cooperation between the two countries on the international arena has contributed to building "a just world order."
Xi said China is willing to work with Russia to oppose any moves of unilateralism, protectionism and bullying, and firmly defend the sovereignty, security and development interests of the two countries, according to CCTV. His remarks came amid intensifying competition between China and the United States.
Following the significant easing of the country's strict "zero-COVID" policy earlier this month, Xi said China is willing to resume normal personnel exchanges in an orderly manner with countries including Russia.
The Russian president also said he expects Xi to make a state visit to his country in the spring of 2023.
Putin also pointed out that trade between the two countries has reached record highs despite the Western sanctions, adding the goal of boosting trade value to $200 billion could be met by 2024 ahead of schedule.