On his way to Moscow, the Chinese president tries to make Beijing a peacemaker after more than a year of war.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is due to arrive in Moscow later on Monday for talks, called for a “rational path” out of the Ukraine crisis but acknowledged that finding a solution will not be easy.
Writing in the Russian newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, a daily published by the Russian government, Xi said the talks could be based on China’s 12-point proposal for a political settlement released last month.
“The document serves as a constructive factor in neutralizing the consequences of the crisis and promoting a political settlement,” Xi wrote, according to a Reuters translation of the article. “Complex problems don’t have simple solutions.”
Xi added that the document reflected “as much as possible” the views of the global community.
Xi’s visit to Moscow is his first since Putin sent Russian troops to Ukraine in February 2022, with Beijing presenting itself as a neutral party even after reaffirming its close ties with its northern neighbor. The Chinese president will be the first world leader to meet Putin since the The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant against him last week.
The Chinese and Russian presidents met shortly before Putin sent his troops to Ukraine, committing to a “limitless” partnership. It is unclear whether Xi was aware of Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine, a close trading partner of Beijing.
Xi sought to cast China as a global peacemaker, arguing that a way out of the crisis could be “found if everyone is guided by the concept of common, comprehensive, joint and enduring security, and pursues dialogue and consultations on a equal footing, prudent and pragmatic manner”.
Putin hailed China’s willingness to play a “constructive role” in ending the conflict in Ukraine and has “high expectations” of Monday’s talks with Xi.
“We have no doubt that they will give a powerful new impetus to the whole bilateral cooperation,” Putin wrote in an article written for a Chinese newspaper and published by the Kremlin on Sunday.
He said Sino-Russian relations were “at the highest point”.
China has not condemned the war in Ukraine or called it an invasion, though it has criticized international sanctions imposed on Russia and some of its most prominent political and military figures.
Xi may also have phone talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after his visit to Moscow, according to reports.
Zelensky gave qualified assistance to the peace plan when it was released in February, noting the need to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Qin Gang had a rare phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba last week to ask for a political solution, saying China feared war would come. to lose control. Qin urged Ukraine to seek a political solution with Moscow.
China, he told Kuleba, has “always taken an objective and fair position on the Ukraine issue.”
In turn, Kuleba reiterated the importance of territorial integrity and the key points of Zelensky’s proposal peace planwhich includes the restoration of Ukraine’s borders, the withdrawal of the Russian army and the cessation of all fighting.
In the Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Xi said his trip to Russia was aimed at strengthening the friendship between the two countries, “comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction”, in a world threatened by “acts of hegemony, despotism and ‘intimidation”.
“There is no universal model of government and there is no world order where the deciding word belongs to one country,” Xi wrote. “Global solidarity and peace without splits or upheavals are in the common interest of all mankind.”