Cardinal Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, Italy. / Francesco Pierantoni from Bologna, Italy – Premio Colombe d’oro per la pace via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0).

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 15, 2023 / 16:10 pm (CNA).

Papal envoy Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi visited Beijing this week to discuss efforts to bring about peace in Ukraine amid the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, according to a statement released by the Vatican on Thursday.

Zuppi met with Chinese Special Representative for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They discussed “the war in Ukraine and its dramatic consequences, emphasizing the need to unite efforts to foster dialogue and find paths leading to peace,” according to the Vatican. 

The meeting also touched on “the problem of food security … with the hope that grain exports could soon be guaranteed, especially for the countries most at risk.” The Russian Navy currently has a blockade in the Black Sea, which is preventing Ukrainian grain exports. 

According to the Vatican statement, Zuppi and Li’s discussion was “held in an open and cordial atmosphere.”

During a news conference, foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China is interested in working with all parties, according to Reuters

“On the issue of Ukraine, China has always been committed to promoting peace talks,” Mao said. “We are ready to work with all parties and continue to play a constructive role in promoting de-escalation and cooling of the situation.”

Zuppi arrived in the Chinese capital on Wednesday, Sept. 13, and left on Friday, Sept. 15. While serving as Pope Francis’ peace envoy, Zuppi made several diplomatic visits across the world to promote peace between Russia and Ukraine, which included stops in Kyiv, Moscow, and Washington, D.C.