U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow indicates Beijing’s willingness to provide “diplomatic cover” for Russia’s “atrocities in Ukraine.”
Xi made a state visit to Moscow on March 20 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin – his first visit to Russia since 2019. During his visit, Xi said Beijing and Moscow “share similar goals,” adding that he believed the “Russian people will continue to strongly support” Putin.
“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 Kremlin accountable for the 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 said at a news conference on March 20.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the leaders’ meeting will revolve around Russia’s war against Ukraine, as well as China’s controversial 12-point “peace plan.”
Beijing’s proposed "peace plan" calls on involved parties to respect the sovereignty of all nations, safeguard nuclear facilities, facilitate grain exports, and protect civilians and prisoners of war.
However, the statement also urged abandoning the so-called “Cold War mentality” and “stopping unilateral sanctions,” rhetoric frequently used by Beijing to criticize the West’s response to Russia’s war.
While Blinken acknowledged that the U.S. supports some parts of China’s peace proposal to address the war, including the protection of civilians, nuclear safety, territorial integrity, and sovereignty, he said any ceasefire proposal “that does not include the removal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory” is unacceptable.
According to Blinken, such a proposal would “effectively be supporting the ratification of Russian conquest” because it would “allow President Putin to rest and refit his troops, and then restart the war at a time more advantageous to Russia.”
“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,” Blinken said.