Ahead of his state visit to Russia Monday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has praised Beijing’s growing ties with Moscow while also attempting to present China as peacemaker in the Ukraine war.
In an article published in Russian state media, Xi said China and Russia had “cemented political mutual trust and fostered a new model of major-country relations”.
“The bilateral relationship has grown more mature and resilient. It is brimming with new dynamism and vitality, setting a fine example for developing a new model of major-country relations featuring mutual trust, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” Xi wrote.
On Ukraine, Xi put China forward as a positive force for peace, crediting Beijing’s approach as “constructive in mitigating the spillovers of the crisis and facilitating its political settlement.”
Xi’s attempt to present China as a neutral peace broker comes as Beijing struggles to balance its “no-limits” relationship with Moscow and fraying ties with the West.
Last month, China’s Foreign Ministry released a position paper on the Ukraine war that called for a resumption of peace talks, an end to unilateral sanctions, and stressed Beijing’s opposition to the use of nuclear weapons — a stance Xi communicated to Western leaders last year.
But Beijing’s claim to neutrality has been severely undermined by its refusal to acknowledge the nature of the conflict — it has so far avoided calling it an “invasion” — and its diplomatic and economic support for Moscow.
Western officials have also raised concerns that China may be considering providing Russia with lethal military assistance, an accusation denied by Beijing.
Putin’s remarks: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday praised China for its “readiness to make a meaningful contribution to the settlement of the [Ukraine] crisis” in an article published on the Kremlin website.
The article, written for a Chinese audience and titled “Russia and China: A Future-Bound Partnership,” celebrated the recent deepening of ties between the two countries.
The Russian leader also blamed Ukraine for the failure of peace talks and took aim at the NATO alliance.
“Unlike some countries claiming hegemony and bringing discord to the global harmony, Russia and China are literally and figuratively building bridges,” he said.
“I am convinced that our friendship and partnership based on the strategic choice of the peoples of the two countries will further grow and gain strength for the well-being and prosperity of Russia and China.”