How a warrant for Putin puts a new twist on Xi’s Russia trip

Washington: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week has highlighted China’s aspirations for a bigger role on the world stage. But he also revealed the dangers of global diplomacy: Hours after Friday’s visit was announced, an international arrest warrant was issued for Putin war crimes The allegations are at least taking the air out of China’s big disclosures.
The flurry of developments — which followed China’s brokering of a deal to resume diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran and what it called a “peace plan” for Ukraine — came as the Biden administration itself and looks at Beijing’s moves to assert more forcefully. in international affairs.
US President Joe Biden said on Friday that he believed the decision by the International Criminal Court in The Hague to charge Putin was “fair”. Speaking to reporters after leaving the White House for his Delaware home, he said Putin “clearly committed war crimes.”
While the US does not recognize the court, Biden said it “makes a very strong point” calling out the Russian leader for his actions in ordering the invasion of Ukraine.
Other US officials privately expressed satisfaction that an international body agreed with Washington’s assessment that Russia committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Asked about the Xi-Putin meeting, Biden said, “Well, we’ll see when that meeting takes place.”
According to two US officials, the Biden administration believes that China’s desire to be seen as a broker for peace between Russia and Ukraine may be viewed more critically now that Putin is officially at war. are suspected of crime. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said the administration hoped the warrants would help neutral countries weigh in on the conflict.
A look at the Xi-Putin meeting and how it may be affected by the warrant.
What is the significance of the 11th meeting with Putin?
The trip to Russia will be Xi’s first overseas trip after being elected for an unprecedented third term as China’s president. It comes as Beijing and Moscow sharpened ties during last year’s Winter Olympics in steps that began shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing in which they agreed to “no No Limit” partnership was announced.
Since then, China has repeatedly sided with Russia in stalling international action against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict and US officials say it is considering supplying Russia with weapons to support the war. But it has also tried to cast itself in a more neutral role, offering a peace plan that was essentially ignored.
The meeting in Moscow is likely to see both sides re-commit to their partnership, which both see as vital to counter the undue and undesirable influence exerted by the US and its Western allies.
What is the significance of the ICC arrest warrant issued for Putin?
In the immediate term, the ICC warrant for Putin and one of his associates is unlikely to have a major impact on the meeting or on China’s position towards Russia. Neither China nor Russia – nor the United States or Ukraine – have ratified the ICC’s founding treaty. The US, beginning with the Clinton administration, has declined to join the court out of fear that its broad mandate could result in prosecution of US soldiers or officers.
This means that none of the four countries formally recognize the court’s jurisdiction or are bound by its orders, although Ukraine has agreed to allow some ICC investigations of crimes on its territory and The US has cooperated with the ICC investigation.
Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that Putin would travel to a country that would be bound by ICC obligations. If he did, it is questionable whether that country would actually arrest him. There is precedent for those who visited ICC members in the past without being detained by former Sudanese President Omar Bashir.
However, the taint of the arrest warrant may well work against China and Russia in the court of public opinion and may affect Putin’s international standing unless the charges are dropped or he is acquitted.
What’s the view from Washington?
US officials have not been at a loss for words when it comes to plans for Xi’s visit to Moscow. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Beijing’s push for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine “an ratification of Russian conquest” and warned that the Russians could use the cease-fire to “reconciliate their position”. So that they can resume attacks on Ukraine.” time for them to choose.
“We do not believe this is a step towards a just, lasting peace,” he said. Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan also called on Xi this week to speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Ukrainian leader also expressed interest in talks with Xi.
What’s the view from Kyiv?
Speaking ahead of the ICC warrant’s unveiling, Ukrainian analysts cautioned against falling into a potential trap ahead of the Xi-Putin meeting. “We need to be aware that such peace talks are a trap for Ukraine and its diplomatic corps,” said Yuri Poita, head of the Asia section at the Kiev-based New Geopolitics Research Network.
“Under such circumstances, these peace talks will not be directed towards peace,” said Natalia Butyrska, a Ukrainian analyst on East Asian politics. He said the visit reflects China’s desire not to seek peace but to play a leading role in reaching any post-conflict resolution.
“China does not clearly distinguish who is the aggressor and who is the victim. And not to distinguish when a country starts its peacekeeping activities or at least wants to help the parties, will affect objectivity,” Butyrska said. “From my point of view, China wants to stabilize the conflict “
What’s the view from Moscow?
Even if China blocks Russia from providing military aid, as the US and its allies fear, Moscow sees Xi’s visit as a powerful signal of Chinese support that will serve to isolate Russia and cripple its economy. Challenges Western efforts to deal with severe trauma.
Kremlin spokesman Yuri Ushakov said Putin and Xi have “very special friendly and trusting personal relations” and praised Beijing’s peace plan. “We appreciate the restrained, balanced approach of the Chinese leadership on this issue,” Ushakov said.
Observers say its refusal to condemn the Russian action, despite China’s posturing as a mediator, leaves no doubt where Beijing’s sympathies lie.
“The Chinese peace plan is a fig leaf to push back some Western criticism over Russia’s support,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The optics this creates is that China has a peace plan, both sides of the war supported it and were willing to explore opportunities and then it was killed by a hostile West.”
What’s the view from Beijing?
Chinese officials have been boasting about their newfound clout in the international arena as their country’s foreign policy has become increasingly assertive under Xi.
Announcing Xi’s visit, China’s foreign ministry said Beijing’s ties with Moscow are an important world power. It added, “As the world enters a new era of turbulence and change, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an important power, the importance and influence of China-Russia relations go far beyond the bilateral scope.” It’s gone.”
It called the visit a “journey of friendship, to further deepen mutual trust and understanding between China and Russia, and to strengthen the political foundation and public opinion foundation of friendship between the two peoples for generations”.

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