President Xi Jinping to establish China as a broker of peace will travel to Russia on Monday in the hopes of achieving progress in the Ukraine crisis.
Xi is looking at a bigger role for China on the international scene and was instrumental in arranging this month’s unexpected reconciliation between adversaries from the Middle East, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
Western capitals are hopeful that Xi will rely on his “old friend” Putin to halt his brutal invasion during the three-day state visit after reports surfaced that he may soon have his first phone chat with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since the start of the war.
China will “play a beneficial role in fostering peace talks,” according to Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, who announced the trip on Friday.
Everyone wants the conflict to end, according to Wang Yiwei, head of the Institute of International Affairs at Beijing’s Renmin University of China.
“Europe stands to lose so much, and the United States may not be able to defend Ukraine for as long as it thinks it can,” Wang said.
“China can express its opinions on both sides, claiming to be a reliable ally of both Russia and Ukraine. This, in my opinion, is important.”
Beijing, a significant supporter of Russia, has long attempted to present itself as a third party to the dispute.
The purpose of Xi’s visit, which comes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday announced an arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges, is “to show whatever support for his strategic ally he can provide, short of help that would result in penalties,” according to AFP.