Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow this week for a bilateral Summit. As per reports, the meetings yielded no breakthrough on resolving the conflict in Ukraine.
Both leaders called for the cessation of actions that “increase tensions” and “prolong” the war in Ukraine, according to their joint statement released by China’s Foreign Ministry. The statement did not acknowledge that Russia’s invasion and military assault were the cause of ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
The leaders also urged NATO to “respect the sovereignty, security, interests,” of other countries – a reference that appeared to echo long-standing rhetoric from both countries blaming the Western security alliance for provoking Russia to invade.
Discussion of China’s murky proposal to end the war in Ukraine appeared only in the last section of their joint statement, offering no specifics about a way forward. In a warning to Western countries supporting Ukraine, it said that any settlement to the crisis must “prevent the formation of confrontational blocs that add fuel to the flames.”
China’s peace plan for Ukraine could be used as a basis to end the war, Vladimir Putin has said. But, Putin said the plan could be put forward only when they are ready “in the West and Kyiv”.
China’s plan, published last month, does not explicitly call for Russia to leave Ukraine.
Listing 12 points, it calls for peace talks and respect for national sovereignty, without specific proposals. But Ukraine has insisted on Russia withdrawing from its territory as a condition for any talks – and there is no sign that Russia is ready to do that.
In a joint news conference after talks with Xi, Putin said: “Many provisions of the Chinese peace plan can be taken as the basis for settling of the conflict in Ukraine, whenever the West and Kyiv are ready for it.” But Russia had yet to see such “readiness” from the other side, he added.
Xi Jinping has wrapped up a state visit to Moscow, where he held nearly three full days of talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The two men have a close relationship and have met 40 times now in the last decade.
Putin had long been shunned by Western leaders over the invasion. And yet in meetings with Xi before cameras, the Chinese leader praised Putin’s “strong leadership” — even encouraging Russians to support another term for their president when he stands for reelection in 2024.
Xi said he was “very happy” to be in Moscow and described talks with President Putin as “frank, open and friendly”. His visit to Russia came days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Putin on war crimes allegations.
The New York Times summed up the visit this way: “Talk of Ukraine was overshadowed by Mr. Xi’s vow of ironclad solidarity with Russia as a political, diplomatic, economic and military partner: two superpowers aligned in countering American dominance and a Western-led world order. The summit showed Mr. Xi’s intention to entrench Beijing’s tilt toward Moscow against what he recently called an effort by the United States at the full-fledged “containment” of China.”