Xi Jinping will seek to position himself as the architect of peace during his visit to Russia

Xi Jinping will seek to position himself as the architect of peace during his visit to Russia

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Having achieved a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Chinese President Xi Jinping will seek to repeat his feat in the Ukrainian conflict during his visit to Russia next week.

Xi, who is seeking to bolster his country’s position on the world stage after recently being inaugurated for a third term, was even praised by the United States for his role as mediator in the surprise reestablishment of relations between the two great Middle Eastern rivals. last March 10.

China’s intention is to “play a constructive role in promoting peace talks,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said on Friday. The Wall Street Journal said earlier in the week that Xi planned to speak with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky soon, a move the White House also called “very good.”

Meanwhile, Westerners hope that he will take advantage of his visit to Moscow to ask his “old friend” Vladimir Putin to put an end to the conflict that has lasted for more than a year. “Everyone wants the end of the war, since Europe has a lot to lose and the United States may not be able to continue supporting Ukraine for a long time,” said Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the People’s University of China, in a statement. Peking.

China, which is a major ally of Moscow, likes to present itself as a neutral party in the conflict in Ukraine. But he refused to condemn the Russian invasion and criticized US aid to kyiv.

no concrete solutions

For Elizabeth Wishnick, an expert on China politics at Montclair University in the United States, “China has done little to promote peace in Ukraine, since any effort on its part would amount to putting pressure on Russia, or at least pointing fingers at it directly.” Xi Jinping’s visit, which will take place after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for war crimes on Friday, is intended to “show support for his strategic ally, without going as far as to help him, which would trigger sanctions”, estimates the specialist.

China published a 12-point document in February in which it called for dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of each country in the Ukrainian conflict. He also introduced a Global Security Initiative (GSI), designed to “promote peace and sustainable development.” In both cases, Westerners criticized the lack of concrete solutions.

For Ja Ian Chong, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore, China’s recent stances appear to be “an attempt to highlight” its GSI and “create momentum for its foreign policy and new global engagement.” But in the end, he says, it will be the “content of his proposals during meetings with Ukrainian and Russian leaders” that will tell whether China is “effectively stepping up its efforts” for peace.


China’s mediation capacity was evident in the Iranian-Saudi dossier. However, reaching a deal on Ukraine will be “much more difficult,” warns Wang Yiwei, citing China’s “limited” influence over Russia and US support for Kiev. But Beijing could, he said, contribute to a “Korean War-style armistice” that would end the fighting but not the territorial sovereignty issues.

According to Elizabeth Wishnick, it is “unlikely” that Ukraine “will accept China’s mediation because it does not consider it neutral or impartial.” “Xi may be eager for another diplomatic success, but I don’t see it on the horizon,” she estimates. “None of the parties is yet ready to give up their hopes of winning territories on the battlefield.”

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