Representatives from China, the US, and Saudi Arabia attend talks to make a headway towards a peaceful end to Russia's war in Ukraine, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, August 6, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

WASHINGTON: The United States has welcomed China’s participation in Saudi-led talks on the war in Ukraine, with Washington hoping to show Russia as isolated.

“We did believe it was productive that China attended,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Monday.

“We have long said that it would be productive for China to play a role in ending the war in Ukraine if it was willing to play a role that respected Ukraine’s territorial integrity and Ukraine’s sovereignty,” he said.

The talks on Saturday in the Saudi port city of Jeddah included some 40 countries, among them emerging powers such as India and Brazil that have been uneasy about Western efforts to punish Russia.

But Saudi Arabia also drew in top officials from the United States as well as Ukraine itself, which sought to rally support. Russia was not invited.

President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, and acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland also met separately in Jeddah with the Chinese envoy, Li Hui.

China has been Russia’s key international ally but has also stepped up diplomacy with Ukraine and has stopped short of full-fledged military support for Moscow.

Miller highlighted Russia’s criticism of the Jeddah talks.

“We believe it’s helpful for countries to attend and hear directly from Ukraine. I would note that Russia apparently objects to that,” he said.