Vladimir Putin welcomed Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart to Moscow, days after a warrant was issued by the Russian President for his arrest in connection with alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine.
They called each other “dear friends” during their meeting at the Kremlin and exchanging compliments, but were locked in negotiations for over four hours Monday.
While Mr Putin acknowledged that he was slightly jealous of China’s “very efficient system” for economic growth, Mr Xi stated that Russia had made “great strides towards its prosperous development”.
These discussions are part of a trip lasting three days, which both countries describe as an opportunity for deepening their “no boundaries friendship”.
The US however criticised the visit. It came after an International Criminal Court’s arrest order Friday that accused Mr Putin of abducting Ukrainian children. Moscow refutes this accusation.
Washington claimed that Beijing provided Beijing with “diplomatic cover” for further crimes by scheduling the visit.
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Moscow said that Mr Xi’s presence was a prestigious diplomatic victory in the West’s efforts to isolate Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
In an article published in China’s People’s Daily newspaper before the visit, Mr Putin attacked the US , stating that the two countries were not ready to submit to attempts to weaken them.
He wrote that the US’s policy of simultaneously deterring Russia, China, and all others who don’t follow its dictates is becoming ever more aggressive.
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Beijing insists that the meeting was part of normal diplomatic relations between the countries. However, Beijing described the visit as “a journey of friendship, cooperation, and peace”.
While the two sides talked about their “strategic partnerships”, China remained neutral on Russia’s invasion and instead positioned itself as a peacemaker.
Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, stated that China will “uphold its objective and fair posture on Ukraine’s crisis and play constructive role in promoting peaceful talks.”
The West claims that China may be considering supplying Russia’s war machines – a move could lead to worsening relations with Washington, and potentially turn key European trade partners against Mr Xi.
While President Xi Jinping is in a difficult position due to the Ukraine conflict, China still has Russia.
It wasn’t meant to be this way for Xi Jinping. Although we don’t know how much Vladimir Putin warned him about the ill-fated invasion in Ukraine, it is clear that once the operation was underway, the Chinese leader would have hoped for a swift and decisive outcome in Russia.
Although we don’t know how much Vladimir Putin warned him about the ill-fated invasion in Ukraine, it is clear that once the operation was underway, the Chinese leader would have hoped for a swift and decisive result in Russia’s favor.
This would have been a good sign for Mr Xi’s plans to acquire or re-acquire a piece of Taiwanese territory.
Instead, the conflict drags along and leaves Mr Xi in an awkward position trying to rise above the fray while trying to do all he can for Russia to win, except, for the moment, supplying weapons.
Beijing seems to have abandoned the idea. It has however refused to condemn Moscow’s aggression and strongly condemned Western sanctions against Russia.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a planned trip to Beijing in January but was canceled at the last moment due to a row about alleged Chinese spy balloons. He criticized the visit and said that the ICC warrant should render Mr Putin a pariah.
The top diplomat from America stated that President Xi was traveling to Russia just days after an International Criminal Court warrant was issued for President Putin. This suggests that China does not feel any responsibility to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities perpetrated in Ukraine.
“Instead of condemning them, it would prefer to provide diplomatic cover for Russia’s grave crimes to continue.”
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Although Mr Putin has not made any public comments on the ICC arrest warrant, his spokesperson called it “null & void” Friday.
Russia, along with the US and China, does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. It is located in The Hague.
It does not extradite its citizens for the court’s justice. This means that Mr Putin will likely never face trial.