During Putin’s visit, Xi hints at political settlement to end Ukraine war
   Date :17-May-2024

Putin visit Xi 
CHINESE President Xi Jinping on Thursday hinted at a political settlement to end the Ukraine war, saying he expects peace and stability will return to the European continent, shortly after his talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as the two leaders vowed to counter any attempt by the US to hinder their strategic ties. A joint statement issued after Putin-Xi talks said that both sides believe that for “a sustainable settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, it is necessary to eliminate its root causes.” Putin received a grand welcome upon his arrival here earlier in the day on his first foreign visit after winning the fifth term in office in March for wide ranging talks with Xi to reset the burgeoning China-Russia strategic ties for future. “China hopes that peace and stability will return to the European continent at an early date, and stands ready to play a constructive role to this end,” Xi said at a joint press conference with Putin after their talks.
In a veiled criticism of the US, which is pressuring Beijing to end its strategic ties with Russia, the joint statement said relations between China and Russia do not target any third countries, therefore they will counter any attempts to hinder such cooperation. According to the statement, Russia and China reaffirmed their resolve to defend their legitimate rights and interests and block any attempts to impede a normal development of bilateral ties, and any interference in the internal affairs of the two nations or to impose restrictions on their economic, technological and foreign policy potential. Putin’s visit to China, the second since last October, follows Xi’s just concluded European Union tour to France, Serbia and Hungary where the Chinese leader came under pressure from EU leaders not to sell arms to Russia. The US too is mounting pressure on China not to sell arms to Russia. While Xi, 70, regards his ties with Putin, 71, as counter to the US’ increasing hostility towards China, which Beijing says is aimed at countering its rise, there is unease here over the Russian leader’s continuation of the Ukraine war. Though Beijing has not publically supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the “no-limits” China-Russia strategic partnership has come under intense scrutiny from the US and its allies, who have imposed sanctions on Moscow and repeatedly called Beijing to use its leverage to bring the war to an end.
Xi, who has met Putin more than 40 times, welcomed his “old friend”, saying the relations between the two countries have withstood an international “storm and changes” and set a model for mutual respect and cooperation.
The two leaders held wide-ranging talks on a host of issues, the significant among them is the way out to end the Ukraine war. Xi said the two sides believe that a political settlement is the right way forward for the Ukraine crisis.
China’s position on this issue is consistent and clear, including observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, respecting the legitimate security concerns of all parties, and building a new security architecture that is balanced, effective and sustainable. For his part, Putin said he is open to a negotiated settlement. “We have never refused to negotiate,” Putin said. “We are seeking a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement of this conflict through peaceful means”, he told China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. “We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours,” he said.
Putin emphasised that the four principles for the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis recently proposed by Xi seamlessly fit in the above-mentioned document. “The steps build on the idea that we need to forego the ‘Cold War mentality’ and ensure indivisible security and respect for international law and the UN Charter in their entirety and interrelation,” he said. The two leaders also witnessed the signing of a number of important intergovernmental and interagency cooperation documents, which inject new, strong impetus into the sound development of China-Russia relations. About the future trajectory of the China-Russia ties frowned by the US and the EU, Putin told the media that the joint document “sets new ambitious tasks and long-term objectives for the development of the entire complex of Russian-Chinese relations,” the achievement of which will be facilitated by the signing of a package of intergovernmental, interagency and trade agreements prepared for his visit to China. Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said the document running into 30 pages was signed after extensive Russian-Chinese negotiations. “It will, of course, emphasise the special nature of our bilateral relations and outline further ways of developing the entire complex of bilateral relations, confirming Russia and China’s leading role in the formation of a just and democratic order,” Ushakov said.
Xi said he and Putin had a comprehensive review of the successful experience in developing the China-Russia relationship over the past 75 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, had an in-depth exchange of views on the relationship and on major international and regional issues of mutual interest, and charted the course forward for Sino-Russian relations and cooperation across the board. He said the joint statement focussed on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era. With Russia chairing BRICS this year and China taking over the chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization later this year, the two sides will support each other’s chairmanship, build a high-quality partnership that is more comprehensive, close, practical and inclusive, and build the unity and strength of the Global South, he added. Calling Xi “my dear friend”, Putin said “it is of fundamental importance that relations between Russia and China are not opportunistic and are not directed against anyone”.
Our cooperation in world affairs today serves as one of the main stabilising factors in the international arena,” he said, according to a report by Russian news agency Tass. Russia and China are successfully cooperating in the United Nations, BRICS, SCO and G20, Putin said. “We are determined to further harmonise integration processes in the Eurasian space, to combine the potential of the Eurasian Economic Community and your, my dear friend, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Putin said. The BRI is a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by President Xi when he came to power in 2013. It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.