Chinese leader Xi Jinping will travel to Russia next week for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Beijing and Moscow announced Friday as the United States warned against Ukraine’s “one-sided” peace plans and the International Criminal Court issued a ruling. arrest warrant against Putin. for illegally deporting Ukrainian children.
Xi’s visit to Moscow from Monday to Wednesday, his first visit to China’s closest global partner since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, will be a “journey for peace,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Wang Wenbin, at a daily press conference in Beijing.
“China will maintain an objective and fair position on the Ukraine crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks,” he added.
Last month, China published a 12-point proposal to end the war, calling for a ceasefire and peace talks between kyiv and Moscow. The plan received a cautious welcome from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but was met with skepticism by the US and Europe because it called for an end to “unilateral sanctions” without demanding a Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory.
China’s attempts to present itself as neutral in the conflict have been strained by actions by Beijing, including its refusal to condemn or even recognize Moscow’s entry into Ukraine in February 2022 as an invasion, its declaration of a friendship “no limits” with Russia just a few weeks ago. before the Russian aggression, and the parrot of Moscow propaganda by officials and state-controlled media blaming NATO for the war.
China has also provided diplomatic support to Moscow and held joint military exercises with Russia as state-owned companies procured Russian oil and gas at cut prices to help ease the pain of international sanctions.
“A ceasefire now is, again, effectively the ratification of the Russian conquest,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters when asked about Xi’s trip.
A premature deal would “in effect recognize Russia’s gains and its attempt to conquer its neighbor’s territory by force, allowing Russian troops to continue occupying Ukraine’s sovereign territory,” he said, encouraging Xi to reach out to Zelenskyy and Putin. .
The Wall Street Journal reported that Xi is expected to have a phone call with Zelenskyy after the trip, in what would be their first conversation since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday and “this issue, among others, was discussed by the foreign ministers of Ukraine and China,” the foreign minister said. Washington Post reported, citing a text by Ukrainian presidential spokesman Serhiy Nykyforov. “So we can say that the work is in progress.”
China’s spokesman Wang declined to comment on the possible call, but said: “China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent and clear. We are in communication with all parties.”
Washington has released intelligence suggesting Beijing is considering providing “lethal support” to help Russia in the war, prompting an angry pushback from Beijing.
On Thursday, the US online outlet. political reported that trade and customs data showed that Chinese companies have shipped 1,000 assault rifles, drone parts and bulletproof vests to Russian entities, among items that could be used for military purposes.
“The cooperation between China and Russia is completely honest,” Wang said when asked about the report.
“China always handles the export of military items prudently and responsibly and regulates the export of dual-use items in accordance with relevant laws and regulations,” he told reporters.
In a development on Friday that could complicate Xi’s mission, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, charging them with the war crime of illegally deport hundreds of children from Ukraine, Reuters reported the news agency.
Russia, like the US and China, is not part of the ICC, but the move will force the 123 member states of the court based in the Netherlands to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if steps foot on their territory, Reuters noted. .
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the ICC’s accusations “outrageous and unacceptable,” the agency reported.
Xi’s visit to Putin comes after a Chinese surprise diplomatic success in negotiating a roadblock between Middle Eastern rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.