Xi, Putin talks in Moscow; China pushes peace plan to end Ukraine war

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart and ally Vladimir Putin held crucial talks in Moscow on Monday amid concerted efforts by China to push for a peace deal to end the Ukraine war, weeks after Beijing successfully brokered a pact between Iran and Saudi Arabia to end their bitter rivalry.
Xi and Putin, who met over 40 times in the last 10 years to forge close ties to oppose the US-dominated world order, held talks hours after the Chinese leader arrived in Moscow for a three-day state visit to a “grand welcome”, official media on both sides reported.
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told the media that Presidents Xi and Putin will hold face-to-face talks followed by their delegations later. They will continue their talks on Tuesday too, according to Russian official media.
Ushakov said the visit would be strictly a business visit, “there will be no additional protocol stuff, the main thing is negotiations, negotiations and negotiations.”
In his arrival statement, Xi said, “Our two countries have consolidated and grown the bilateral relationship on the basis of no-alliance, no-confrontation and not targeting any third party, and set a fine example for developing a new model of major-country relations”. He said China will continue to work with Russia to safeguard the international system with the UN at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
President Putin said that Moscow has studied Beijing’s proposals for resolving the conflict in Ukraine and that he will discuss it at a meeting with President Xi, state-run Tass news agency reported.
“We have thoroughly studied your proposals for resolving the acute crisis in Ukraine,” Putin said, addressing the Chinese leader at a meeting on Monday. “Of course, we will have an opportunity to discuss this,” he stressed.
“We know that you proceed from the principles of justice and observance of the fundamental provisions of international law and indivisible security for all countries,” Putin said, noting that China was taking a “fair and balanced position on most pressing international problems.”
Putin stressed Russia’s openness to negotiations. “Of course, we will discuss all these issues, including your initiatives, which we treat with respect, of course,” he said.
Significantly, as Xi arrived in Moscow becoming the first world leader to meet Putin after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against the Russian leader accusing him of committing war crimes in Ukraine, Beijing strongly criticised the Court accusing it of double standards. The ICC should uphold an objective stance, respect the immunity of heads of state from jurisdiction under international law, exercise its functions and powers prudently in accordance with the law, and avoid politicisation and double standards, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told the media in Beijing.
While there is no imminent danger of Putin being arrested by the ICC, its warrant was seen as a serious image crisis for him as 123 countries are members of the Court.
Ahead of his crucial talks with Putin which were expected to focus on beefing up Beijing-Moscow close and strategic ties, Xi on Monday spoke of his peace plan to end the raging Ukraine war.
Xi said his plan takes into account the “legitimate” concerns of all parties and reflects the broadest common understanding of the international community.

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