Australia makes demand in rare high-level China meeting: 'END THE WAR'

Penny Wong has called on China to help end the war in Ukraine by "using its influence" to convince Russia to pull out.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the United Nations conference in New York on Friday in what she said was a "constructive" meeting.

China has maintained an objective view since the war began in February with Russian leader Vladimir Putin recently praising China’s Xi Jinping for his "balanced" position on the conflict.

But Senator Wong said China has great power, and as a member of the United Nations, has a duty to take steps in putting an end to the conflict.

Penny Wong and Wang Yi
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Source: Getty

"We believe, as does every country in the UN with the exception of Russia, that Russia is in breach of the UN Charter with its illegal invasion of Ukraine," Senator Wong said.

"We encourage China, as a P5 member with a special responsibility, to uphold the UN Charter and use its influence and end the war."

Senator Wong last met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in July where she vowed to help mend the relationship between China and Australia.

She says Australia will continue to engage with China in order to "stabilise the relationship" which became fractured during Scott Morrison's leadership.

But during Friday's meeting, Senator Wong was able to "put pressure" on China about the "thorny issues" that the previous Coalition government couldn't get close to, Sky News senior political reporter Trudy McIntosh said.

This included "using their special relationship with Russia to try and end this war in Ukraine".

Putin and China President Xi Jinping
China has maintained an objective position on the Russia and Ukraine conflict. Source: Getty

China to remain 'objective' in Russia conflict

On Thursday, following Mr Wang’s meeting with Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the pair had "exchanged views on the Ukrainian issue", it's been reported.

"Wang Yi stressed that China will continue upholding an objective and just position to promote peace talks, and hopes that all parties refrain from giving up dialogue efforts and resolve security concerns through peace talks," the statement said.

"Lavrov expounded on Russia’s position, stressing that security is indivisible and Russia is still willing to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping met for the first time last week since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The last time the two men met they signed a "no limits" friendship agreement between their two countries.

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