Russian leader Vladimir Putin lavished praise on visiting Chinese dictator Xi Jinping on Monday as Xi began his visit to Moscow.
While Xi’s public statements upon arrival were mostly about the growing partnership between China and Russia, Putin played his part as the junior partner in the new axis of tyranny, gushing over the Chinese leader and promising “clarification” for why Putin made things awkward for Beijing by invading Ukraine.
Reuters quoted Putin rhapsodizing over Xi’s amazing leadership qualities, and very delicately explaining why his government has not rushed to embrace the vague “peace plan” China is touting as a towering accomplishment of global diplomacy:
Russia is open to a politico-diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. However, back in April 2022, the peace talks were by no means terminated by us. The future of the peace process depends solely on the readiness for a serious conversation, taking into account the prevailing geopolitical realities.
I met Comrade Xi Jinping in March 2010, when he came to Moscow at the head of a representative Chinese delegation. Our first meeting was very businesslike and at the same time sincere and friendly. This style of communication personally impresses me deeply. I know that China attaches great importance to friendship and human relationships. It is no coincidence that the sage Confucius said: ‘Isn’t it a joy when a friend comes from afar!’ We in Russia also highly appreciate these qualities, for us a true friend is like a brother. In this, our peoples are very similar.
Putin sang from China’s playbook about how Western notions of human rights and international good behavior are just a scam to keep the rising authoritarian powers of the world under control:
The ‘collective West’ clings more and more desperately to archaic dogmas, to its elusive dominance, putting the fate of entire states and peoples at stake. The course pursued by the United States of dual containment of Russia and China, as well as all those who do not succumb to American dictates, is becoming more acute and assertive. The architecture of international security and cooperation is being dismantled.
The Kremlin said Putin would offer Xi “exhaustive clarifications” on Russia’s plans for Ukraine, giving the Chinese dictator a “first-hand view of the current moment from the Russian side.”
One Year Anniversary of War in Ukraine:
This seems like a polite way for Putin to tell Xi that China’s “12-point peace plan” is not good enough to end the fighting in Ukraine. Putin claimed he has “thoroughly studied” China’s proposals and was prepared to discuss them with Xi, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov flat-out dodged questions about if China would be welcomed as a peacemaker and intermediary between Russia and Ukraine’s supporters in the West.
Peskov would say only that China is wasting its time attempting to mediate because the U.S. is “sticking to its position, which is aimed at further provoking the conflict, preventing any decrease in the intensity of hostilities and pumping weapons into Ukraine.”
Xi is clearly still hoping to build on momentum from the China-brokered rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, perhaps hoping that China could cement its position as the new dominant global power by negotiating an end to Putin’s Ukraine war while the Biden administration glares sullenly from the sidelines.
Xi said when he landed in Moscow that his regime is ready to “stand guard over the world order based on international law” and “resolutely defend the U.N.-centric international system,” which seems like a hollow boast for a leader who refuses to denounce an invasion the U.N. has resoundingly condemned on several occasions over the past year.
It is also darkly comical for Xi to boast of his respect for “the unity of the world community’s views” when the International Criminal Court (ICC) swore out a warrant for Putin’s arrest as a war criminal three days ago — and Xi’s Russian partner not only ignored the action but opened a sham “criminal investigation” of the ICC.
For their part, the Ukrainians have signaled a willingness to accept China at the negotiating table, perhaps even at the head seat, but only if Beijing modifies its sketchy “peace plan” to require that Russia vacates Ukrainian territory.
“The formula for the successful implementation of China’s ‘Peace Plan’. The first and main point is the capitulation or withdrawal of the Russian occupation troops,” Ukrainian national security secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on Monday.