The hourlong phone call between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, followed by Beijing’s appointment of a senior diplomat to be dispatched to Ukraine and other countries “for in-depth communication with all parties,” has marginally improved China’s chance to be considered a serious candidate for mediator given its close ties to Russia

China’s recent success in bringing about a deal under which Iran and Saudi Arabia resumed diplomatic ties after years of estrangement also helped to give it credibility.

Shortly after the phone call, China appointed 70-year-old Li Hui, a senior diplomat, to head Beijing’s delegation for the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine.