mandag 20. mars 2023

Xi makes ‘journey of friendship’ to Moscow days after Putin’s war crime warrant issued

For Chinese leader Xi Jinping, his high-profile state visit to Russia and meeting with President Vladimir Putin this week is a timely opportunity to showcase China’s growing diplomatic clout on the world stage and its ambition to challenge the US-led global order. But in many Western capitals the optics of the visit will look very different – two autocrats who have long described themselves as firm friends shaking hands and banqueting while a conflagration in Europe rages.

Beijing has cast the visit as a “journey of peace,” where Xi is supposed to “play a constructive role in promoting peace talks” over the war in Ukraine. And it comes just days after China scored a major diplomatic victory by brokering a surprise rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, helping the two archrivals restore diplomatic ties.

Yet hours after the announcement of Xi’s trip on Friday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of war crimes over Moscow’s forcible deportation of Ukrainian children.