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China Xi Jinping appears to be a peacemaker between Russia and Ukraine during a visit to Moscow

President Xi Jinping visits Russia on Monday hoping to make inroads on Ukraine as China seeks to position itself as a peacemaker.

Freshly reappointed for a third term in power, Xi is pushing for a bigger role for China on the world stage, and has played a crucial role in mediating a surprise rapprochement between Middle Eastern rivals Iran and the United States. Saudi Arabia this month.

Rumors that he may soon hold his first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since the outbreak of war have raised hopes in Western capitals that Xi may rely on his ‘old friend’ Putin to stop his invasion. bloody during the three-day state visit.

Announcing the trip on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China would “play a constructive role in promoting the peace talks.”

“Stopping the war is everyone’s wish, as Europe stands to lose a lot and the United States may not be able to support Ukraine for as long as it thinks it can,” said Wang Yiwei, director of the Beijing Institute of International Affairs. Renmin University of China.

“China can put forward its views on both sides – it can say that it is a trusted friend of both Ukraine and Russia. I think that is very important.”

Beijing, a major Russian ally, has long sought to present itself as a neutral party to the conflict.

But he refused to condemn the Russian invasion and sharply criticized Washington’s support for Kiev, leading Western leaders to accuse Beijing of providing diplomatic cover for Russia to bludgeon its European neighbor.

“Beijing has done remarkably little to encourage peace in Ukraine, because any credible effort would require pressuring Russia or at least calling on it directly,” said Elizabeth Wishnick, a professor and Chinese foreign policy expert at the University. of Montclair State in the United States. .

Xi’s trip – which comes after the International Criminal Court announced an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday for war crimes – is “to show all the support he can give to his strategic partner, unless a aid that would result in sanctions,” she added. told AFP.

– Lots of words, little substance –
Seeking to play peacemaker, China released a 12-point position paper on the war in Ukraine last month, calling for dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries.

Beijing has also touted its Global Security Initiative (GSI), a hallmark Xi policy that aims to “promote lasting peace and development.”

Both documents have drawn ire from the West for dwelling on general principles instead of practical solutions to the crisis.

China’s recent diplomacy around the war appears to be “an attempt to highlight” the GSI and “create momentum for its foreign policy and re-engagement with the world”, said Ja Ian Chong, an associate professor at the University. national of Singapore.

“Whether (China) will actually step up its efforts to play a peacemaking role in any meaningful way will depend on the substance of what it comes up with in meetings with Ukrainian and Russian leaders,” said Chong, an expert on peacekeeping. Beijing’s international relations.

“Their previous peace plan was more about general principles than concrete proposals.”

– “Not impartial” –
Beijing’s efforts to portray itself as an international mediator were front and center this month when it oversaw a deal that restored diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

It later emerged that Xi himself had offered China to serve as a “bridge” between the rivals, questioning Washington’s longstanding role as the main external energy broker in the Middle East.

“The brokerage of the (Saudi-Iran) deal fuels the Chinese government’s narrative of being a positive-sum global player promoting peace and cooperation that stands in contrast to Washington’s allegedly destabilizing actions,” said Audrye Wong, professor adjunct at the University of Southern California.

But stopping the firing in Ukraine would be “a little more difficult” than the Saudi-Iranian deal, Renmin University’s Wang said, citing China’s “limited” influence over Moscow and US support for Kiev.

Beijing, he suggested, could help usher in “an armistice similar to that formed in the aftermath of the Korean War” that stops fighting but raises questions of territorial sovereignty further down the road.

But Wishnick, of Montclair State, said Ukraine was “unlikely to accept China as a mediator because they are not seen as neutral or impartial.”

“Xi may be hungry for diplomatic success, but I just don’t see one on the horizon in Ukraine,” she said.

“Neither side is ready to give up hope of territorial gains on the battlefield.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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