How the warrant for Putin puts a new round on Xi’s visit to Russia – KGET 17

WASHINGTON (AP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week have highlighted China’s aspirations for a bigger role on the world stage. But they also revealed the perils of global diplomacy: Hours after the trip was announced on Friday, an international warrant was issued for Putin on war crimes charges, which at least slightly raised the sails of China’s big reveal.

The flurry of events – which followed China’s brokering of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic relations and release what it called a “peace plan” for Ukraine – came as the Biden administration warily watches Beijing’s moves to assert itself more strongly in international affairs.

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that he believed the decision of the International Criminal Court in The Hague to indict Putin was “justified”. Speaking to reporters as he left the White House for his home in Delaware, he said Putin “obviously committed war crimes.”

Although the US does not recognize the court, Biden said it was a “very strong point” to call 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.”

The Biden administration believes 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 suspected of war crimes, according to two U.S. officials. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter publicly, said the administration hoped the orders would help mobilize hitherto neutral countries to join the conflict.

A look at the Xi-Putin meeting and how it may be affected by the order.


The visit to Russia will be Xi’s first visit abroad since being elected to an unprecedented third term as China’s president. It comes as Beijing and Moscow intensified ties in steps that began shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the two leaders meeting in Beijing during last year’s Winter Olympics to declare a partnership without limits.

Since then, China has repeatedly sided with Russia in blocking international action against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict and, US officials say, is considering supplying Russia with weapons to support the war. But it also tried to cast itself in a more neutral role, offering a peace plan that was largely ignored.

The meeting in Moscow is likely to see the two sides recommit to their partnership, which both see as key to countering what they see as inappropriate and undeserved influence by the US and its Western allies.


In the near term, the ICC’s warrant against Putin and one of his aides is unlikely to have much impact on the meeting or China’s position toward Russia. Neither China nor Russia — nor the United States or Ukraine — have ratified the ICC’s founding treaty. The US, starting with the Clinton administration, has refused to join the court, fearing that its broad mandate could result in the prosecution of US soldiers or officials.

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 into crimes on its territory, and the US has cooperated with ICC investigations.

In addition, it is unlikely that Putin would travel to a country bound by ICC obligations. If he had, it is questionable whether that country would have actually arrested him. There is precedent for previously accused persons, notably former Sudanese President Omar Bashir, to visit members of the ICC without being detained.

However, the taint of the arrest warrant could work well for China and Russia in the court of public opinion, and Putin’s international standing could suffer unless the charges are dropped or he is acquitted.


US officials had no objection to Xi’s planned visit to Moscow. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Beijing’s push for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine a “ratification of Russian conquest” and warned that the Russians could use the ceasefire to regroup their positions “so they can relaunch attacks on Ukraine at a time of their own accord.” choice.”

“We do not believe that this is a step towards a just, lasting peace,” he said. Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan this week invited Xi to speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Ukrainian leader has also expressed interest in talks with Xi.


Speaking ahead of the publication of the ICC order, Ukrainian analysts warned against falling into a potential pitfall ahead of the Xi-Putin meeting. “We must be aware that such peace talks are a trap for Ukraine and its diplomatic corps,” said Yurii Poita, who heads the Asia division at the Kyiv-based New Geopolitics Research Network.

“Under such conditions, these peace talks will not be aimed at peace,” said Natalya Butyrska, a Ukrainian policy analyst on East Asia. She said the visit reflected not so much China’s desire for peace, but its desire to play a major role in whatever post-conflict settlement is reached.

“China does not make a clear distinction between who is the aggressor and who is the victim. And when a country starts its peacekeeping activities or at least tries to help the parties, non-distinction will affect objectivity,” said Butyrska. “From my perspective, China is trying to freeze the conflict.”


Even if China ends military aid to Russia, as the US and its allies fear, Moscow sees Xi’s visit as a strong signal of Chinese support that counters Western efforts to isolate Russia and deal heavy blows to its economy.

Kremlin spokesman Yuri Ushakov pointed out that Putin and Xi have “very special friendly and personal ties of trust” and welcomed Beijing’s peace plan. “We highly appreciate the restrained, well-balanced position of the Chinese leadership on this issue,” Ushakov said.

Observers say that despite China posing as a mediator, its refusal to condemn Russia’s action leaves no doubt about where Beijing’s sympathies lie.

“China’s peace plan is a fig leaf to deflect some Western criticism of its support for Russia,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The optic it creates is that China has a peace plan, both sides in the war supported it and were willing to explore options, and then it was killed by a hostile West.”


Chinese officials have boasted of their newfound influence 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 to Moscow are a major world power. “As the world enters a new period of turbulence and change, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an important power, the importance and influence of Sino-Russian relations go far beyond bilateral frameworks,” it said.

The visit was called “a trip of friendship, further deepening mutual trust and understanding between China and Russia, and consolidating the political basis and foundation of public opinion of the friendship between the two peoples for generations.”


Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani in Washington and Hanna Arhirova in Kyiv contributed to this report.

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