May 30, 2023

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New Xi-Putin talks in Moscow, expected in Kishida Kyiv

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are due to meet on Tuesday for official talks on Ukraine and the agenda of rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing on the second day of the Chinese president’s visit to Russia, as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits Kiev. He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi on Tuesday.

MM As Beijing proposed a peace plan last month, Xi and Putin are expected to sign deals, logically on renewed conflict in Ukraine, but on their broader cooperation and deepening of their economic ties.

Mr. to Russia. Xi’s three-day state visit is an opportunity for Vladimir Putin to present himself with a strong ally at a time when he is increasingly isolated in the West and was targeted last week with an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is heading to Kyiv on Tuesday for a surprise visit to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Tokyo said.

Mr Kishida will “convey to President Zelensky his respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people defending their homeland under his command and the unfailing solidarity and support for Ukraine from Japan and the G7,” Japanese diplomacy said. A press release.

Fumio Kishida is the only member of the group who has not been to Kyiv since the conflict began in February 2022.

– “Diplomatic Cover” –

Tokyo joined Western sanctions against Russia and in February announced $5.5 billion (€5.1 billion) in new aid to Ukraine. However, Japan did not provide military aid because its pacifist constitution prohibited it from doing so.

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On Monday, Messrs. In an informal first meeting at the Kremlin, Xi and Putin spoke to each other for four and a half hours.

“I know that you (…) have a fair and balanced position on the most important international issues,” Putin told his Chinese host at the start of the meeting, calling him “my dear friend”.

He said he views Beijing’s Ukraine peace plan with “respect” and that Russia and China have “plenty of goals”.

During their exchange, China will “continue to play a constructive role” in finding a political solution to the conflict in Ukraine, Mr. Xi assured him.

China has positioned itself as a mediator in Ukraine and in February released a document setting out several policies, including respecting regional sovereignty and inviting Moscow and Kiev to engage in peace talks.

But the Western ruling says Beijing favors Moscow too much to serve as a credible mediator. Recently, Washington has even accused Chinese officials of considering supplying arms to Russia, which they vehemently deny.

Others in the West believe that China could take inspiration from the Russian offensive in Ukraine and take control of Taiwan.

On Monday, the head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, asserted that “the world should not be fooled by any tactical decision by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the conflict (in Ukraine) on its own terms.”

Mr. Three days after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin, Mr. Mr. Xi visited Russia. Blinken pointed out that the US diplomat said, “China does not feel the need to hold the (Russian) president accountable for the atrocities inflicted on Ukraine”.

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According to Antony Blinken, the visit will “provide diplomatic cover for Russia to continue committing major crimes”.

On Monday, Chinese diplomacy called on the ICC to avoid any “politicization” and respect the immunity of heads of state.

For its part, Kyiv, wary of Chinese intentions, urged Xi on Monday to “use its influence in Moscow to end the war of aggression.”

– Geopolitical Counterweight –

Questioned by AFP, French expert Antoine Pontas, an expert on Chinese diplomacy, believes Beijing is trying to promote “an image of stability (…) factor, especially with non-Western countries” in the Ukrainian file. “to delegitimize democratic regimes”.

In recent years, Beijing and Moscow have actually positioned themselves as geopolitical counterpoints to US power and its allies.

“No country should dictate the international order,” the Chinese leader wrote in an article published by a Russian newspaper on Monday.

Economic and financial issues are also expected to form a large part of Tuesday’s talks between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.

To offset European sanctions, Russia has significantly increased its hydrocarbon exports to Asia, which, according to observers, is increasingly dependent on Beijing.