Washington (AP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping planned to meet With Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week, they highlight China’s aspirations for a greater role on the world stage. But they also exposed the dangers of global diplomacy: Hours after Friday’s announcement of the trip, international arrest warrant Putin was released on war crimes charges, which at least took some wind out of the sails of China’s big revelation.
Flurry of developments – that followed China’s mediation in the agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations and release it from what it calls a “peace plan” for Ukraine – came on behalf of The Biden administration is watching warily Beijing moves to assert itself more forcefully in international affairs.
US officials had no immediate public comment on the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for Putin, but privately expressed relief that an international body agreed with Washington’s assessment that Russia committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
The Biden administration believes that China’s desire to be seen as a broker of peace between Russia and Ukraine may be seen more importantly now that Putin is officially a war crimes suspect, according to US officials. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the matter publicly, said the administration hopes the memos will help rally hitherto neutral nations to influence the conflict.
A look at Xi’s meeting with Putin and how he might be affected by the memo.
What is the importance of the eleventh meeting with Putin:
The visit to Russia will be Xi’s first overseas trip since his election to an unprecedented third term as China’s president. This comes as Beijing and Moscow have strengthened ties in steps that began shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing during last year’s Winter Olympics in which they declared a “borderless” partnership.
Since then, China has repeatedly sided with Russia in blocking international action against Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, and US officials say they are considering supplying weapons to Russia to support the war. But it also tried to position itself in a more neutral role, presenting a peace plan that was essentially ignored.
The meeting in Moscow is likely to see both sides recommit to their partnership, which both see as crucial to countering what they see as undue and undue influence exerted by the United States and its Western allies.
What is the significance of the ICC arrest warrant for Putin?
In the near term, the ICC warrant against Putin and one of his aides is unlikely to have a significant impact on the meeting or China’s attitude toward Russia. Neither China nor Russia – nor the United States or Ukraine – have ratified the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court. The United States, beginning with the Clinton administration, refused to join the court, fearing that its broad mandate would lead to the prosecution of American troops or officials.
This means that none of the four countries formally recognizes the court’s jurisdiction or is bound by its orders, although Ukraine has agreed to allow some ICC investigations into crimes on its soil and the United States has cooperated with ICC investigations.
In addition, it is unlikely that Putin will travel to a country that would be bound by obligations to the ICC. If he did, it is questionable whether that country would actually arrest him. There is precedent for those previously indicted, notably former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, of visiting members of the International Criminal Court without arresting them.
However, the stigma of the arrest warrant could work well against China and Russia in the court of public opinion and Putin’s international standing may suffer unless charges are withdrawn or he is acquitted.
The view from Washington:
Although they have been wary of discussing ICC orders directly, US officials have not minced words when it comes to Xi’s planned visit to Moscow. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Beijing’s push for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine “an endorsement of the Russian invasion” and warned that the Russians could use the cease-fire to regroup “so they can resume attacks on Ukraine.” at a time of their choosing.”
“We do not believe that this is a step towards a just and lasting peace,” he said. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called on Xi this week to also speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Ukrainian leader has also expressed interest in holding talks with Xi.
The view from Kyiv:
Speaking before the ICC memo was revealed, Ukrainian analysts warned of a possible trap ahead of the Xi-Putin meeting. “We need to realize that these peace talks are a trap for Ukraine and its diplomatic corps,” said Yuriy Poita, head of Asia at the New Geopolitics Research Network based in Kiev.
“Under these conditions, these peace talks will not be directed towards peace,” said Natalia Buterska, a Ukrainian analyst on East Asian politics. She said the visit does not reflect China’s desire for peace as much as it reflects its desire to play a major role in any post-conflict settlement that might be reached.
“China does not clearly distinguish between the aggressor and who is the victim. When a country begins its peacekeeping activities or at least seeks to help the parties, the lack of distinction will affect objectivity,” Buterska said. “From my point of view, China seeks to freeze the conflict.”
The view from Moscow:
Even if China stops providing military aid to Russia as the United States and its allies fear, Moscow sees Xi’s visit as a strong signal of Chinese support that will challenge Western efforts to isolate Russia and deliver crippling blows to its economy.
Kremlin spokesman Yuri Ushakov noted that Putin and Xi have “very friendly and trusting personal relations” and praised Beijing’s peace plan. “We highly appreciate the conservative and balanced stance of the Chinese leadership on this issue,” Ushakov said.
Observers say that despite China’s position as a mediator, its refusal to condemn Russia’s action leaves little doubt about where Beijing’s sympathies lie.
“The Chinese peace plan is a fig leaf to answer some of the Western criticisms about support for Russia,” said Alexander Gabov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The optics it creates is that China had a peace plan, and both sides of the war supported it and were willing to explore opportunities and then be killed by the hostile West.”
The view from Beijing:
Chinese officials boast of their newfound influence on the international stage as their country’s foreign policy has become increasingly assertive under Xi.
In announcing Xi’s visit, China’s foreign ministry said Beijing’s relations with Moscow are an important global power. “As the world enters a new period of turmoil and change, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and as an important power, the significance and influence of China-Russia relations transcend the bilateral scope,” she said.
The visit was described as “a journey of friendship that further deepens mutual trust and understanding between China and Russia, and consolidates the political and public opinion foundations of friendship between the two peoples for generations.”
Associated Press writers Aamir Madani in Washington and Hanna Arhirova in Kiev contributed to this report.