Xi and Putin stick to same Ukraine positions after summit
Despite offering Russian President Vladimir Putin a sign of solidarity, Chinese President Xi Jinping did not indicate that he was ready to increase Chinese support for Putin’s war against Ukraine.
Driving the news: Xi made a joint appearance after hours of talks on Tuesday. He described China’s approach towards Ukraine as “unbiased”and “impartial” but stated that the West and Ukraine weren’t ready for peace negotiations.
China’s plan does not call for Russia’s withdrawal from the territories it annexed in Ukraine last fall. Tony Blinken, Secretary of State, argued Monday that such terms would “effectively be supporting the ratification by Russia of conquest.”
Despite Xi’s claim of neutrality Chinese officials and state media echoed Russia’s claims that NATO countries inflamed or provoked the conflict, despite Xi’s assertion. Tuesday’s joint statement by the leaders condemned “unilateral sanction” and “moves which lead to tensions or the protracted of fighting.”
Yes, but Xi hasn’t explicitly endorsed invasion, breached sanctions openly, or provided weapons to Russia. On Tuesday, he did not give any indications that China’s position on these issues had changed.
Xi seems determined to project China as a responsible actor, plausible mediator, at a moment when other members of UN Security Council are at war (Russia), or arming Ukraine, says Alexander Gabuev, Carnegie Endowment.
Xi will likely hold a conference call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, sometime after he returns to Moscow on Wednesday.
Xi and Putin signed a number of memorandums and joint statements on Tuesday regarding cooperation on trade issues. These didn’t include a final agreement on a pipeline that would allow Russian gas to be exported to China.
Analysts believe that the summit highlighted the increasingly lopsided nature the relationship. Putin praised Xi profusely and pledging favorable terms, while Xi offered little beyond the visit (though he did refer to Putin as a “dear friend”)
It’s still unclear what Xi or Putin might have agreed to behind closed doors. Gabuev points out that even if a more substantial agreement was reached, Xi may not wish to make announcements that would distract from his peace plan.
The big picture: Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, was visiting Ukraine while Xi and Putin met in Moscow. He also visited Bucha, expressing “great anger” at the Russian troops’ atrocities. He also met President Volodymyr Zelesky.
Zelensky received an additional boost when 18 European countries announced a collective agreement to purchase much-needed artillery shells from Ukraine.
The Ukraine will likely launch a counteroffensive in spring to regain some of the Russian-occupied territory.