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Why China’s Xi Jinping Is Visiting Russia

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Why China’s Xi Jinping Is Visiting Russia

“If the United States and the West hope to resolve the Ukrainian crisis they should support China’s proposals for peace.”

Why China’s Xi Jinping Is Visiting Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) holds talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, Mar. 20, 2023

Credit: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

Some Western media regard Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ongoing visit to Russia as China’s “choosing sides” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and favoring Russia. This is yet another misread, just like regarding China as being responsible for the continuation of the crisis.

Yes, China has a good relationship with Russia. But China and Ukraine are also strategic partners, and the two nations have had long-term friendly exchanges. During the conflict China has maintained communication with Ukraine. The leaders of the two countries have exchanged letters, and their foreign ministers have also met in person and talked on the phone many times.

As global powers, the relationship between China and Russia is even more special. Many Chinese sympathize with Russia and fully understand Russia’s security demands. What Russia wants is for NATO to stop expanding eastward and not to station or deploy missiles and troops in Ukraine. Russia wants a safer adjacent border environment. Only the United States and NATO can provide answers to these questions.

From this perspective, the key to resolving the Ukrainian crisis is not in the hands of China, but in the hands of the United States and the West. China is not the cause of the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to the crisis. It is Western countries that are deeply involved in the crisis. However, China has not stood idly by. It has actively promoted peace talks with a responsible attitude.

Xi’s visit to Russia will be to promote peace, not to arm any party or encourage any party to fight the other.

The Chinese government has never sold arms to any warring party or conflict area, and has not done so during the Ukraine crisis. The United States is the largest supplier of weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield. It has been delivering lethal weapons and constantly pushing up tensions.

Even if rumors prove true that China will call for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine (on the heels of China’s brokering an agreement on the resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran), the White House’s response is likely to be that a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine is unacceptable.

It has become clear which party intends to prolong the war and which wishes to promote peace.

Some Western media hope that China will play a constructive role. What could be more constructive than promoting peace?

Realistically speaking, the top priority at the moment is not to resolve controversial issues such as allegations of war crimes, but to establish a ceasefire, stop the war, and rebuild the Ukrainian homeland. It’s imperative to end the slaughter of soldiers on both sides and start the resettlement of millions of refugees made homeless.

Some Western politicians object to China’s high-level visit to Russia, mainly because they don’t want to see China-Russia relations become even stronger, especially in the context of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Such thinking is unrealistic.

China-Russia relations have nothing to do with the Ukraine crisis. Whether there is a Ukrainian crisis or not, the leaders of China and Russia will maintain normal exchanges and mutual visits. Over the past 10 years, Xi has visited Russia eight times and met with President Vladimir Putin 40 times.

Friendly cooperation between China-Russia has a solid political, economic, and cultural foundation. Consolidating and deepening the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era is in the fundamental interests of the two countries’ peoples. It is conducive to world peace and stability, and is a positive global asset.

China pursues an independent foreign policy focused on peace. It is unreasonable to think that Xi’s visit to Russia is about “choosing sides.” His visit is a normal exchange between two sovereign countries and will not be affected by the complicated international situation. Western politicians need to look beyond their ideology before they criticize.

Some voices in the United States believe that China and Russia are getting closer, which undermines the failure of Washington’s anti-China strategy. The U.S. strategic community should reflect on why China-U.S. relations have been on a yoyo string over the last decade. The 1980s were a kind of honeymoon; China and the U.S. then cooperated in counterterrorism in the 2000s and during the international financial crisis in 2008. The two countries were describes as “stakeholders” in the 2010s, but now Sino-U.S. relations are so bad there’s even talk of potential and unthinkable armed conflict.

Here’s what the United States has done to contain China over the years: wage trade and technology wars against China, constantly agitate China’s interests in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The U.S. sale of advanced weapons to Taiwan has undermined China’s sovereignty and unity, as well as the possibility for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Against this background, the United States wants China to cooperate in solving the Ukraine crisis. This has spurred a joke on the Chinese internet mocking the U.S. plea to China: “Please help me contain Russia so that I can better contain you in the future.”

China is a major economy that has never waged or participated in any war in the past 40 years. On that metric alone, no major Western country cares for and cherishes peace like China.

Regarding the Ukrainian crisis, observers who follow China’s diplomacy know that China has recently put forward the “Concept Paper on Global Security Initiatives” and “China’s Position on the Political Solution to the Ukrainian Crisis.” From concept to practice, it reflects a consistent position of promoting peace through peace talks.

China’s foreign policy reflects the aspirations of the vast number of developing countries and peace-loving people in the world. It has been positively evaluated by countries and organizations including Russia and Ukraine. It is the most practical and effective peace plan at present.

China has proven that it always stands on the side of peace. It is the only country among major powers that has systematically proposed a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis. If the United States and the West hope to resolve the Ukrainian crisis they should trust China’s experience, and support China’s proposals. Only in this way will fewer innocent people die on the Ukrainian battlefield.