Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to visit Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow in the coming months, sources told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Xi is seeking to push for multilateral peace talks to end the war in Ukraine and stress the importance of not using nuclear weapons during a summit with Putin, WSJ reported Tuesday. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have given indications recently that Beijing would like to play a bigger role in the peacemaking process as Russia moves further into China’s sphere of influence.
Breaking: China’s President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the spring, seeking a more active role in shaping the outcome of the Ukraine war https://t.co/cf3eLAw264
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 21, 2023
The timing of Xi’s visit is not yet finalized but could be in April or early May, according to WSJ. People familiar with the matter said the CCP’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, is set to discuss the potential visit when he himself visits Moscow on Tuesday, WSJ reported. Wang said during the Munich Security Conference that China will unveil a position paper on the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Western powers, including the United States, have warned Beijing against taking a stronger pro-Russia stance in the conflict. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday that there are signs China may soon begin providing lethal aid to Russia to support its invasion. China and Russia declared a “no limits” partnership in the days preceding the start of the invasion in 2022, but China has avoided crossing certain red lines that may draw the world’s ire, such as providing lethal weaponry to Moscow. (RELATED: Biden Admin Announces New Tranche Of Aid For Ukraine)
Still, Western leaders are divided on what role exactly China should, or could, play in the path of the conflict. French President Emmanuel Macron said Feb. 16 he and Wang had the “same objective of contributing to peace” and has previously said he welcomes China playing a diplomatic role in ending the war. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called China’s peace plans “quite vague.”
Xi’s potential visit to Moscow follows President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday, which triggered Russia to pause its participation in the New START nuclear treaty of 2011.