China’s top diplomat is scheduled to discuss the war in Ukraine with senior Russian officials this week, highlighting deepening ties with Beijing and Moscow that are causing alarm in the Western capital.
The Kremlin said on Monday that China’s chief foreign policy officer, Wang Yi, could meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the one-year anniversary of the conflict. The announcement came a day after the US warned that Beijing was “strongly considering” it. support the Russian war effort in arms supply.
“The agenda is clear and very wide-ranging,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday, according to Interfax.
The king’s visit to Moscow, the first by a Chinese official since Putin ordered the invasion, stands in stark contrast to Joe Biden’s visit surprise trip Traveling to Kiev on Monday, the US president met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, and promised “unwavering support” for resistance to Russian aggression.
The visit is the final leg of China’s first European tour since President Xi Jinping ended China’s three-year isolation under the “zero-coronavirus” policy late last year. has been pitched as a potential peacemaker in Ukraine. Rebuild relations between Beijing and the West.
Speaking in Budapest on Monday, Wang said China was “willing to cooperate with other peace-loving countries to end the current hostilities as soon as possible.”
But Wang’s conciliatory remarks belittle China’s move to deepen ties with Russia. war Putin will remain increasingly isolated internationally.
China does not condemn aggression, instead cultivating Russia as a useful bulwark in its growing competition from Washington.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Wang called the U.S. decision to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon “hysterical and ridiculous” and defended his relationship with Russia, while Beijing said the U.S. would seek to cut ties between the two countries. He said he would never let him decide.
China also criticizes the Western supply of advanced weapons to Ukraine and unprecedented economic sanctions against Russia.
Instead, Beijing, which does not participate in the sanctions, will increase its purchases of Russian oil and gas and supply parts to replace blacklisted Western imports, allowing Russia to avoid sanctions damages. has helped offset the
China now accounts for about half of all Russian imports, according to customs data tracked by Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel.
“For Russia, China is the main lifeline to sustain the economy,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Yes, we are dependent,” he said. “There are all sorts of reasons why China wants Russia to stay.”
China’s foreign ministry declined to comment Monday on Wang’s visit to Moscow. But he reiterated that a Chinese newspaper proposing a political solution to the “Ukrainian crisis” will be published this week, coinciding with the war’s first anniversary.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the document contains President Xi Jinping’s proposals for peace, such as respecting the sovereignty of all nations, that nuclear war should never be waged, and that civilian nuclear facilities should be protected. is repeated.
Beijing diplomats were skeptical that the king’s visit to Moscow and the proposed peace plan would change the situation in Ukraine. Xi and Putin pledged in December to deepen bilateral ties in what the two countries described as an “unrestricted” partnership, prompting Russia to become increasingly vocal in its support of China’s stance on Taiwan. Became.
Xi has yet to speak directly to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskythey said, would make China’s role as a peace interlocutor more difficult.
China denied on Monday that it was considering providing deadly aid to Russia. A foreign ministry spokesman said, “It is the United States that provides weapons continuously, not us.”