President Xi Jinping went to Moscow, sipped champagne and called the Butcher of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, his “dear friend.”
In a “no limits” partnership bereft of morality, the two autocrats talked of “peace” as missiles and shells rained down on the beleaguered Eastern European nation.
Cities and towns dotted across the southeast of Ukraine have been reduced to rubble since Russia’s illegal invasion more than a year ago.
But smiles and handshakes were Comrade Xi’s answer to Putin’s war.
“Right now there are changes, the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years, and we are the ones driving these changes together. Take care, dear friend,” he told the Russian president through an interpreter in the Kremlin.
Key issues at the Moscow summit:
- China’s vague 12-point peace plan to end the war in Ukraine grabbed all the headlines.
- But this was a secondary concern to Beijing.
- Strengthening security ties between the two countries, and boosting trade and investment dominated the agenda.
- Intriguing takeaways revolved around high-tech industries and the application of AI or artificial intelligence.
Delve deeper: “By playing the peacemaker, Xi can position himself better to take other, harsher rescue measures if Ukraine rejects a cease-fire. He could offer ammunition for Russia, arguing he’s only leveling the playing field,” political commentator David Ignatius wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.
Between the lines: “All of this shows us that Xi wants to become a world leader, and spread his [Communist Party] ideology around the world,” Wang Dan, a veteran activist and former 1989 Tiananmen Square protest leader, wrote in a commentary for Radio Free Asia.
Alternative view: China’s state-run tabloid Global Times painted a different picture in an editorial entitled Xi-Putin meeting sends an important signal to promote peace talks.
What it said: “Why does the conflict drag on? On the one hand, it is related to the complexity of the Ukraine issue, and on the other hand, it is also related to the poor role played by the US and NATO in the outbreak and escalation of the conflict.”
China Factor comment: Media propaganda nonsense can not blur the fact that Russia illegally invaded a peaceful Ukraine last year. Xi probably knew this was about to happen when he met Putin before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics just weeks before Russian tanks rolled across the border. Both men have blood on their hands.