The President of China, Xi Jinping, who is due to arrive in Moscow later on Monday for talks, has made a strong case for a ‘rational way’ out of the Ukraine crisis but has acknowledged it will not be easy to reach a solution.
Making comments in the Russian newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, a daily published by the Russian government, Xi said discussions could be based on China’s 12-point proposal for a political settlement published last month.
‘The document serves as a constructive factor in neutralising the consequences of the crisis and promoting a political settlement,’ Xi wrote, according to a Reuters translation of the article. ‘Complex problems do not have simple solutions.’
Xi added that the paper reflected ‘as much as possible’ the views of the global community.
Xi’s visit to Moscow is his first since Putin sent Russian troops into Ukraine in February 2022, with Beijing casting itself as a neutral party even after it reaffirmed its close ties with its northern neighbour. The Chinese president will be the first world leader to meet Putin since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him last week.
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The Chinese and Russian presidents met shortly before Putin sent his troops into Ukraine, committing themselves to a “no limits” partnership. It is not clear whether Xi was aware of Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine, a close trading partner of Beijing.
Xi has been seeking to present 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 sustainable security, and continue dialogue and consultations in an equal, prudent and pragmatic manner”.
Putin has welcomed 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 new powerful 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 although it has criticised international sanctions imposed on Russia and some of its most prominent political and military figures.
Xi may also hold phone discussions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after his visit to Moscow, according to reports.