tirsdag 21. mars 2023

China bills itself as a Ukraine peacemaker but US says Xi’s talks with Putin provide ‘diplomatic cover’ for war

Xi Jinping sits down for a second day of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday but Western allies remain skeptical of any breakthrough over the war in Ukraine with Washington saying the Chinese leader’s visit provides “diplomatic cover” for Moscow.

The first day in Russia for Xi was a carefully choreographed show of bonhomie with a brass band serenade, a photo op and lunch with his “dear friend” Putin – but it is the second day where the two leaders are set to get to work. The key question of global interest hanging over the talks is whether any outcomes will impact the conflict in Ukraine, where Russia continues an onslaught that has triggered a mass humanitarian crisisand left tens of thousands dead.

China in recent weeks has attempted to portray itself as an aspiring broker of peace, calling for ceasefire and peace talks in a vaguely-worded position paper released last month. Putin on Monday said Russia had “carefully studied” China’s proposals and promised “an opportunity to discuss this matter,” according to a Kremlin readout.