China’s President Xi arrives in Moscow for first visit since Russia invaded Ukraine
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday, seeking both to deepen economic ties with an ally he sees as a useful counterweight to the West and promote Beijing’s role as a potential peacemaker in Ukraine.
Xi will be the first leader to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him on Friday over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow said the charge was one of several “clearly hostile displays” and opened a criminal case against the ICC prosecutor and judges. Beijing said the warrant reflected double standards
Russia is presenting Xi’s trip, his first since securing an unprecedented third term this month, as evidence that it has a powerful friend in its standoff with a hostile West.
“We can feel the geopolitical landscape in the outside world undergoing drastic changes,” Putin said in an article in China’s People’s Daily published on the Kremlin website, adding that he had high hopes for the visit of his “good old friend”
China has released a broad 12-point proposal to solve the Ukraine crisis, while strengthening relations with Moscow.
Beijing has repeatedly dismissed Western accusations that it is planning to arm Russia but says it wants a closer energy partnership after boosting imports of Russian coal, gas and oil.
“Both sides are continuously strengthening political mutual trust, creating a new paradigm of relations between major powers,” Xi wrote in an article published in Russia ahead of his trip.
Western sanctions made Russian energy cheaper, saving China billions of dollars, but its top trade partners remain the United States and European Union.
Russian state television showed Xi arriving at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on Monday afternoon. Informal talks and dinner with Putin are set to be followed by formal talks on Tuesday.
Xi said China’s Ukraine peace proposal, released last month, reflects global views while acknowledging complications.
“Complex problems do not have simple solutions,” he wrote in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, a daily published by the Russian government, according to a Reuters translation from Russian.
RUSSIA PROMISES ‘CLARIFICATIONS’
Ukraine said China should press Russia to stop its invasion.
“We expect Beijing to use its influence on Moscow to make it put an end to the aggressive war against Ukraine,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said.
Ukraine and its Western allies say any truce would just buy Putin time to reinforce ahead of a planned Ukrainian counter-offensive and that for Russia and China to uphold international law as they say they do, they must agree to Russia’s withdrawal.
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