Poland President Andrzej Duda visits China; plans to talk to Xi Jinping about Ukraine

“I am trying to maintain friendly relations with China, Poland has always had decent relations with China and I would like that to be continued," Andrzej Duda said in an interview on private Radio Zet on June 21.

Published - June 24, 2024 12:38 pm IST - Beijing

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda. File

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda. File | Photo Credit: AP

Poland's President Andrzej Duda is in China on a visit that brings the leader of a NATO member to a country that has backed Russia in its full-on invasion of Ukraine.

“I am trying to maintain friendly relations with China, Poland has always had decent relations with China and I would like that to be continued," Mr. Duda said in an interview on private Radio Zet on June 21.

He was scheduled to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on June 24 and has said peace in Ukraine will be discussed.

Asked if he believes that China is holding a key to peace in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Mr. Duda said: “I think that to a large degree, yes.” While China says it is neutral in the fighting, it has blamed NATO's expansion for provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin into launching the invasion and has maintained robust trade and diplomatic relations with Moscow. Poland borders Ukraine and has provided refuge for those fleeing the fighting and maintained a hard line against further expansion of Russian aggression.

Mr. Duda said he will also talk to Mr. Xi about Belarus exerting migration pressure on the border with Poland, as a form of hybrid war that also includes cyberattacks. Mr. Duda will also seek a visa waiver for Poles traveling to China and will seek possibilities of increasing Poland's exports there, to balance their trade relations.

State Statistics Poland said 13.9% of the nation's imports last year were from China, while Polish exports to China were just a fraction of that amount. Some trade agreements are to be signed during the visit.

On Wednesday, Mr. Duda will fly to the financial hub of Shanghai to attend a Poland-China economic forum.

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