China's Xi Makes 1st Moscow Visit 03/20 06:06
Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday on a three-day visit
that shows off Beijing's new diplomatic swagger and offers a welcome political
lift for Russian President Vladimir Putin as the fighting in Ukraine slows to a
grinding war of attrition.
(AP) -- Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday on a three-day
visit that shows off Beijing's new diplomatic swagger and offers a welcome
political lift for Russian President Vladimir Putin as the fighting in Ukraine
slows to a grinding war of attrition.
China and Russia have described Xi's trip as part of efforts to further
deepen their "no-limits friendship." 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 U.S. domination of global affairs.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that over dinner on Monday, Putin and
Xi will touch on issues related to Ukraine, adding that Russia's president will
likely offer a "detailed explanation" of Moscow's view on the current situation.
Broader talks involving officials from both countries on a range of subjects
are scheduled for Tuesday, according to Peskov.
For Putin, Xi's presence at the Kremlin is a prestige visit and a diplomatic
triumph, allowing him to tell Western leaders allied with Ukraine that their
efforts to isolate him have fallen short. Xi's trip comes just days after the
International Criminal Court in The Hague announced it wants to put Putin on
trial for the abductions of thousands of children from Ukraine.
China portrays Xi's visit as part of normal diplomatic exchanges and has
offered little detail about what the trip aims to accomplish, though the nearly
13 months of war in Ukraine cast a long shadow on the talks.
At a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang
Wenbin said Xi's trip was a "journey of friendship, cooperation and peace."
On the war, Wang said: "China will uphold its objective and fair position on
the Ukrainian crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks."
Beijing's leap into Ukraine issues follows its recent success in brokering
talks between Iran and its chief Middle Eastern rival, Saudi Arabia, which
agreed to restore their diplomatic ties after years of tensions.
Flushed with that success, Xi called for China to play a bigger role in
managing global affairs.
"President Xi will have an in-depth exchange of views with President Putin
on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common
concern," Wang said.
He added that Xi aims to "promote strategic coordination and practical
cooperation between the two countries and inject new impetus into the
development of bilateral relations."
China last month called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Kyiv and
Moscow. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cautiously welcomed Beijing's
involvement, but the overture fizzled.
The Kremlin has welcomed China's peace plan and said it would be discussed
in talks between Putin and Xi that will begin over dinner.
Washington strongly rejected Beijing's call for a cease-fire as the
effective ratification of the Kremlin's battlefield gains.
Kyiv officials say they won't bend in their terms for a peace accord.
"The first and main point is the capitulation or withdrawal of the Russian
occupation troops from the territory of Ukraine in accordance with the norms of
international law and the UN Charter," Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of
Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, tweeted on Monday.
That means restoring "sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,"
Xi's trip to Russia comes after the International Criminal Court on Friday
issued a warrant for Putin's arrest on war crimes charges.
The Kremlin doesn't recognize the authority of the the International
Criminal Court and has rejected its move against Putin as "legally null and
void." China, the United States and Ukraine don't recognize the ICC, either,
but the court's announcement tarnished Putin's international standing.
China's foreign ministry on Monday called on the ICC to "respect the
jurisdictional immunity" of a head of state and "avoid politicization and
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia's Security Council, said Monday that
the International Criminal Court's move to issue an arrest warrant for Putin
will have "monstrous consequences" for international law.
"A gloomy sunset of the entire system of international relations is coming,
trust is exhausted," Medvedev wrote on his messaging app channel.
He argued that in the past the ICC has destroyed its credibility by failing
to prosecute the purported U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He also cautioned that the court in The Hague could be a target for a
Russian missile strike. Medvedev has in the past made bombastic statements and