China’s head of state Xi Jinping travels to Russia

China’s head of state Xi Jinping travels to Russia

Beijing China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping is expected on Monday for a three-day state visit to Moscow. He wants to do this with the Russian President Wladimir Putin talk about the Ukraine war, among other things. Xi wants to work for peace, said a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, without the Ukraine to be mentioned by name. According to Russian information, however, it should also be about “military-technical cooperation”.

Putin and Xi will meet for one-on-one talks and an informal dinner on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. The heads of state wanted to “question the further development of a comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China” and “sign important bilateral documents,” according to the Kremlin’s statement. Talks in a larger circle are planned for Tuesday, including with the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The USA and Western countries are critical of the partnership between the two nuclear powers. The United States and other countries have repeatedly warned China not to support Russia in the war against Ukraine with arms supplies. Xi and Putin signed a “borderless partnership” just before Russia invaded Ukraine over a year ago.

Despite the invasion, which violates international law, the Chinese government is sticking to this partnership and has repeatedly emphasized that it wants to further strengthen relations with Russia. The regime in Beijing describes its position in the Ukraine war as neutral. However, political leaders have repeatedly accused the US and NATO of causing the crisis.

Beijing’s mediation efforts are therefore not viewed as credible by the USA and other western countries. The US urged Xi to also speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “There is concern that China is making proposals regarding the war in Ukraine that are unilateral and reflect only the Russian perspective,” said John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council.

Apparently, Xi also wants to call Zelenski

China’s head of state has had four personal exchanges with Putin since the beginning of the war, but never with Zelenskiy. Following his trip to Russia, Xi wanted to call Zelensky, the Wall Street Journal recently reported, citing insiders. However, this has not yet been confirmed by the Chinese side.

Experts believe that a phone call between Xi and Zelensky would only be a fig leaf to justify Xi’s trip to Moscow. The visit to Russia is actually about deepening the relationship with Russia in such a way that it benefits Beijing and not about “real peace mediation,” says the renowned Russian China expert Alexander Gabuev.

Military relations are to be deepened, Chinese chip and technology exports to Russia increased and Russian oil and gas deliveries to China increased. This is also in line with what was recently published by China Twelve-point paper for “a political solution to the Ukraine crisis”.

>> Read also: How Russia Diverts Its Trade Flows and Outsmarts the West

The document, presented on the anniversary of the start of the war, calls for a ceasefire and peace talks, among other things. However, it does not contain any concrete suggestions as to what a peace plan might look like. Nor is it clear what role China could or wants to play in possible peace talks.

The document was also met with skepticism in the West. A ceasefire at this point in time would be tantamount to “ratifying the Russian conquest,” stressed US National Security Advisor Kirby. In addition, Russia could use the ceasefire to consolidate its positions in Ukraine and gather forces for new attacks on Ukraine. “You can’t negotiate with a gun at your temple,” stressed Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

While the paper remained vague on many points, calls for an end to Western sanctions against Russia and a call to ensure grain exports were strikingly specific. The latter, in particular, has met with approval in many countries in the Global South. Some experts therefore believe that Beijing wants to use its initiative to position itself as an alternative to the West, particularly in this region of the world.

Alternative to the US-dominated world order

One important reason why the Chinese government is sticking to its partnership with Russia is the common enemy of the United States. Xi and Putin are striving for a supposedly “multipolar world order” and want to break the supposed US monopoly on power. This is also shown by the so-called Global Security Initiative recently specified by China. In the Ukraine paper, too, a reorganization of the European security architecture is indirectly called for, without the protective power of the USA.

More: China and Russia are fighting for a pact against the West

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