China’s Xi Providing ‘Diplomatic Cover’ for Russia With Moscow Meeting: Blinken

China’s Xi Providing ‘Diplomatic Cover’ for Russia With Moscow Meeting: Blinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on the release of the 2022 Human Rights Report at the U.S. State Department in Washington, on March 20, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Eva Fu
3/20/2023
Updated:
3/27/2023
0:00

WASHINGTON—By visiting Moscow to boost ties with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is demonstrating to the world his disregard for the “atrocities committed in Ukraine” and providing the isolated Russian leader with “diplomatic cover,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Blinken made the remarks at a press conference on March 20 as he announced his department’s annual human rights report, just as Xi made his first visit to Moscow since Putin mounted a war in Ukraine last year. The two greeted each other as “dear friend” before dinner.

Xi was the first international leader to have met Putin after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president on March 17, citing the “alleged war crimes of deportation of children from Ukrainian occupied territories into the Russian Federation.”

“That President Xi is traveling to Russia days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Putin suggests that China feels no responsibility to hold the criminals accountable for atrocities committed in Ukraine, and instead of even condemning them, it would rather provide diplomatic cover for Russia to continue to commit those very crimes,” Blinken told reporters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures while speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 20, 2023. (Sergei Karpukhin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures while speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 20, 2023. (Sergei Karpukhin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

On March 20, Blinken authorized the 34th round of military assistance to Ukraine, sending a package of U.S. arms and equipment valued at $350 million.

“Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does, we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said in a statement.

At the press conference, Blinken expressed his hope for Xi to reiterate certain parts of the ceasefire plan Beijing proposed on Feb. 24 and compel Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian soil, which he called the “fundamental element.”

“China’s proposal includes elements we have long supported, including ensuring nuclear safety, resolving humanitarian crises, protecting civilians, and indeed, the first element calls for upholding sovereignty, independence of territorial integrity of all countries,” he said.

“Calling for a ceasefire that does not include the removal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would effectively be supporting the ratification of Russian conquest.

“The world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has previously questioned whether Beijing’s peace proposal is sustainable.

“It’s difficult to see how [the Chinese peace plan] could represent a sustainable option here when there have been no discussions between the Chinese and Ukrainians,” he told The Epoch Times in late February.

After his three-day summit with Putin, Xi is due to call Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which would be their first discussion since the war.

At the meeting with Xi, Putin welcomed Beijing’s resolution to the Ukraine conflict.

“We will discuss all those issues, including your initiative that we highly respect,” he said. “Our cooperation in the international arena undoubtedly helps strengthen the basic principles of the global order and multipolarity.” He told Xi he was “slightly envious” of China’s rapid development in recent decades, as the communist leader smiled.

Experts have warned that Xi’s efforts to portray himself as a peacemaker during this trip are a mere smoke screen. In reality, the Chinese regime is interested in prolonging the Ukraine war to distract the West from its ambitions in the Indo-Pacific, they said.

The growing ties between Russia and China have worried many in the West, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who warned of an “axis of power” forming among North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran.

“I’m worried about this axis of power. But we also need to have a plan to win [in Ukraine],” he told reporters at the House GOP retreat in Florida on March 19.

Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. politics, U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]
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