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Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin in what Beijing has described as a “trip for peace.” The White House, however, has said, “We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now.”
While National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said, “We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia,” Putin has told Xi that he is “open” to peace talks with Ukraine and China’s attempted mediation.
“We have a lot of joint tasks, goals,” Putin told Xi during an initial meeting. Xi, in return, praised the Russian president, saying, “Russia succeeded in promoting prosperity under Putin’s leadership.”
Putin went on to say that “we will discuss your initiative [on Ukraine], which we view with respect,” and added, “We are open for a negotiating process on Ukraine” and noted to the Chinese leader that “we have looked at your proposals for the resolution of the Ukraine conflict.”
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While Putin seems to be willing to engage in peace talks with Ukraine, there remain many barriers to a successful resolution in place. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has instituted a law that forbids Ukraine from holding negotiations with Russia as long as Putin is in power. There is also the insistence of Kyiv and its Western allies that Russia suffers a military defeat, which of course, would not happen as part of a peace accord. Washington is also currently refusing to permit a ceasefire between the two countries.
For its part, however, China has been instrumental in mediating several peaceful negotiations in the Middle East over the past month, with another summit of Middle Eastern leaders expected in the coming months. Sworn enemies, Saudi Arabia, and Iran have agreed to reopen embassies in one another’s country, while the Suadi King has invited Iran’s President to visit Riyadh for the first time in 25 years.
Saudi Arabia has also announced this week that it will be reopening its consulate in Syria after more than a decade, while Iran and Bahrain are also set to engage in a new round of talks over the next few months. With so many Arab states normalizing diplomatic relations at China’s urging, perhaps Ukraine and Russia can hammer out an agreement, although it remains highly unlikely.
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