China Xi Jinping appears to be peacemaker between Russia, Ukraine on Moscow visit
President Xi Jinping left for Russia on Monday, hoping to deliver a breakthrough on Ukraine as China seeks to position itself as a peacemaker.
Freshly appointed for a third term in power, Xi has been pushing for a bigger role for China on the global stage, and this month was key in mediating a surprise rapprochement between Middle Eastern rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Rumors that he may soon hold his first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since the outbreak of the war have raised hopes in Western capitals that Xi will call on his “old friend” to stop his bloody offensive during a three-day state visit. Putin can be depended on.
Announcing the visit on Friday, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China would “play a constructive role in promoting peace talks”.
Wang Yiwei, director of Beijing’s Institute of International Affairs, said, “Preventing war is everyone’s wish, because Europe stands to lose so much and the United States may not be able to support Ukraine.” Renmin University of China.
“China can put forth its views on both sides – it can say it is a reliable friend of both Ukraine and Russia. I think that’s very important.”
Beijing, a major Russian ally, has long sought to portray itself as a neutral party to the conflict.
But it has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion and has sharply criticized Washington’s support for Kiev – leading Western leaders to accuse Beijing of providing diplomatic cover for Russia to crush its European neighbor .
Elizabeth Vishnik, a professor at Montclair State University in the United States and a Chinese foreign policy expert, said, “Beijing has done remarkably little so far to encourage peace in Ukraine, as Russia has been critical of any credible effort.” There will need to be pressure or at least calling Russia out directly.” ,
Xi’s visit – which comes after the International Criminal Court announced an arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges on Friday – was aimed “to show whatever support he can provide for his strategic partner, aid less than which will result in sanctions”, he told AFP.
– Much talk, little substance –
Seeking to play the role of peacemaker, China last month published a 12-point position paper on the war in Ukraine, calling for dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries.
Beijing has also cited its Global Security Initiative (GSI), a hallmark policy of Xi’s that aims to “promote sustainable peace and development”.
Both documents have drawn criticism in the West for their focus on broad principles rather than practical solutions to the crisis.
China’s recent diplomacy around the war appears to be “an attempt to highlight” the GSI and “build momentum for its foreign policy and re-engagement with the world”, said Jay Ian, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore. Chong said.
“Whether (China) is really stepping up its efforts to play the role of peacemaker in a meaningful way depends on the facts proposed during meetings with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia,” said Chong, who specializes in Beijing’s international relations. Will depend on.”
“His previous peace plan was more about general principles than actionable proposals.”
– ‘not fair’ –
Beijing’s efforts to position itself as an international mediator were front and center this month as it oversaw a deal that restored diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
It later emerged that Xi himself offered China to act as a “bridge” between the rivals, challenging Washington’s longstanding role as the main external power broker in the Middle East.
“The Dalal (Saudi-Iran) deal feeds into the Chinese government’s narrative of being a positive-sum global player promoting peace and cooperation,” said Audrey Wong, assistant professor at the University of Southern California. The opposite of destabilizing actions.”
Renmin University’s Wang cited China’s “limited” influence on Moscow and US support for Kiev, but said stopping the shelling in Ukraine would be “somewhat harder” than the Saudi-Iran deal.
Beijing, he suggested, could help usher in “an armistice similar to the one formed from the Korean War” that halts fighting but escalates questions of territorial sovereignty.
But Montclair State’s Vishnik said Ukraine is “unlikely to accept China as a mediator because it is not seen as neutral or fair”.
“Xi may be eager for diplomatic successes, but I don’t see any on the horizon in Ukraine,” she said.
“Neither side is willing to give up hope yet for territorial gains on the battlefield.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)