Chinese leader Xi Jinping meets Vladimir Putin in Moscow
Xi Jinping said China and Russia are ready “to stand guard over the world order based on international law”, as he met with Vladimir Putin Days later the 70-year-old leader was made subject of an arrest warrant by the international criminal court.
The summit with between the Chinese and Russian leaders has been criticized as a possible “stalling tactic” allowing the Kremlin’s forces to recalibrate on the ground in Ukraine,
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he is skeptical about the talks working towards peace. “The world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russiasupported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms,” Mr Blinken said.
Mr Blinken said the United States welcomed any talks that could secure a “just and durable peace” but doubts that China is concerned with restoring the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine,
“Any plan that does not prioritize this critical principle is a stalling tactic at best or is merely seeking to facilitate an unjust outcome. That is not constructive diplomacy,” he added. “Calling for a ceasefire that does not include the removal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would effectively be supporting the ratification of Russian conquest.”
Xi Jinping cannot be seen as an “honest broker” between Russia and the West, and will certainly not be seen as one by UkrainePresident’s Volodymyr Zelenskya UK-based expert has said.
The footage showed the pair sitting several feet apart, exchanging greetings but both grimacing. Putin in particular appears uneasy and is moving his feet constantly.
Xi had earlier touched down in Moscow for a three-day visit. Footage showing Xi disembarking from Moscow and being whisked away by motorcade for meetings with Putin – who was not present at the airport to greet him – at the Kremlin.
Later, the pair were featured in widely circulated video footage, with Putin welcoming China’s plan to settle what he called Russia‘s ‘acute crisis’ in Ukraine, Xi meanwhile referred to Putin as his “dear friend” and predicted the visit would “be fruitful and give new momentum to the healthy and stable development of Chinese-Russian relations”.
China’s foreign ministry peviously described the visit as a “journey of co-operation, friendship and peace”, having set the tone by calling on the ICC to “respect the jurisdictional immunity” of a head of state and “avoid politicization and double standards”. , after the court issued a warrant for Vladimir Putin‘s arrest over allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine,
China and Russia has also referred to Xi’s trip as part of efforts to further deepen their “no-limits friendship.”
The Kremlin earlier welcomed China’s peace plan for Ukraine and said it would be discussed in talks between Putin and Xi that will begin over dinner on Monday.
Beijing has called for a ceasefire, but Washington strongly rejected the idea as an effective ratification of the Kremlin’s battlefield gains.
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Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping pictured at the Kremlin
Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow
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China looks to Russia as a source of oil and gas for its energy-hungry economy and as a partner in opposing what both see as American domination of global affairs.
Professor Steve Tsang, Director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, told Express.co.uk: “Xi is partisan in supporting Putin and therefore Russiawhich makes him less than an honest broker.
“My take is a simple one. Xi’s policy remains essentially the same as before, which is to declare neutrality, support Putin and avoid paying a price over the Russian invasion of Ukraine,
Xi would use his state visit to reaffirm that support “though not without limits”, Prof Tsang explained.
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China has imported large amounts of Russian energy since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began.
Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow ahead of state visit to Russia
China’s President Xi Jinping after disembarking his plane
Beijing’s “position paper”, published by the Chinese government on February 24, the first anniversary of Putin’s invasion, revealed its view of the war as being “close to that of Moscow” meaning any peace proposals made by Xi would be “acceptable, if not agreeable, to Putin”, Prof Tsang said.
He continued: “This would imply a position that is not acceptable to Zelensky of Ukraine,
“Xi may still propose to speak to Zelensky by telephone or an online platform, but he is unlikely to get far, as his claim to play honest broker will be seen in Kyiv as a distinctly partial one.
“Xi is probably thinking that he can build on the success in brokering a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran and thus can get Kyiv to agree to an arrangement advantageous to Moscow.
“I doubt that he really understands the feelings of the government and people of Ukraine,
Xi Jinping’s motorcade in Moscow
Another picture of the motorcade heading to the Kremlin
Putin sent Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko to the Russian capital’s Vnukovo airport to meet Xi after he stepped off his Boeing 747.
The Russian president, meanwhile, was far away in central Moscow busy with other commitments before his high-stakes dinner with Xi in the evening.
Putin began his day by making an appearance at a meeting of the Interior Ministry’s top officials. He also addressed a parliamentary conference involving lawmakers from African nations.
Back at the airport, Xi listened as a Russian military band played the national anthems of China and Russia, He then walked past a line of honorary guards accompanied by Chernyshenko.
In an article published in China’s top People’s Daily newspaper, Putin described Xi’s visit as a “landmark event,” saying it offers a “great opportunity for me to meet with my good old friend with whom we enjoy the warmest relationship.” He also wrote in detail about their first meeting in 2010, adding that he and Xi met about 40 times and citing a line from Chinese philosopher Confucius that said: “Is it not a joy to have friends coming from afar!”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that over dinner, Putin and Xi will likely include a “detailed explanation” of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, Broader talks involving officials from both countries on a range of subjects are scheduled for tomorrow, he added.
Xi Jinping facing ‘serious turning point’ says expert
Downing Street today said Xi should use his visit to Moscow to urge Vladimir Putin to halt its bombings and other “atrocities” in Ukraine,
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “China has spoken previously about the importance of respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity in Ukraine,
“We would like to see President Xi advocate for this point when he speaks to Putin.
“This war and its assault on Ukraine‘s sovereignty could end today if Russia withdrew its troops from Ukraine,
“So we hope President Xi uses this opportunity to press President Putin to cease bombing Ukrainian cities, hospitals, schools, and to halt some of these atrocities that we are seeing on a daily basis.”
Rishi Sunak, who has come under pressure from senior Tories to take a tougher line on China, described the country as an “epoch-defining challenge” earlier this month.
Volodymyr Zelensky is unlikely to be persuaded, said Prof Tsang
International Criminal Court issues warrant of arrest for Putin. The historic decision, from which historical responsibility will begin. pic.twitter.com/cUW0WbeGKJ
— Volodymyr Zelensky (@ZelenskyyUa) Mar 17, 2023
Lord Peter Ricketts, a former national security advisor, said the war in Ukraine is “very convenient” for China.
He told Sky News: “I don’t think they’re (China) about to do anything particular to bring it to an end.
“It makes Russia weak and dependent on China, gives them access to massive amounts of Russian oil and gas, and it distracts America from confrontation with China because it involves them in supporting Ukraine in europe.
“So I think the status quo serves Xi Jinping just fine.”
He said that Chinese interests are “to be kept Russia weak” but also “not to burn their bridges with Europe, or even America”, adding that they have “enormous trading interests”.
Dominic Raab said Putin must be ‘held to account’
This comes as an international conference in London raised 4 million pounds ($4.9 million) to support the International Criminal Court in its investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine and its work to hold Russia to account, officials said Monday.
Justice ministers from over 40 countries met in London for the war crimes conference days after the global court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putinaccusing him of personal responsibility in the abduction of children from Ukraine, Friday’s move was the first time the court has issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
“We share the belief that President Putin and the wider leadership must be held to account,” Britain’s Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said as he opened the meeting. “Let’s make sure that we back up our words with deeds, that we back up our moral support with practical means to effectively investigate these awful crimes.”
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