Xi Jinping invites Vladimir Putin to Beijing as pair sign joint

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have signed a joint declaration that will bring China-Russia ties into a new era, as the two leaders called for “responsible dialogue” to end the war in Ukraine. 

The presidents held formal talks that lasted three hours on Tuesday to discuss bilateral relations between Moscow and Beijing and the ongoing conflict.

They signed two agreements, one reaffirming their “deepening strategic partnership for the new era” and one outlining plans for economic cooperation.

In a joint press conference following talks, President Putin said the statements “fully reflect the nature Russia-China relations are at the highest point in the history of our two countries”.

In turn President Xi emphasised “our two sides must enhance communication and cooperate closely, promoting new and greater advancement in practical cooperation between our two countries”.

Earlier in the day Xi invited Putin to visit China during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, in a show of support for the Russian President after the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest over alleged war crimes.

Following Xi’s arrival in Moscow on Sunday, President Putin promised China’s 12-point peace plan for the war in Ukraine – which was published in late February – would be top of the agenda for their talks.

In Tuesday’s joint statement, the two leaders urged the international community to make “constructive efforts” towards “responsible dialogue” on the Ukraine crisis. 

“Both sides call for a halt to any moves that could cause tension and continue the warfare, in order to avoid the crisis deteriorating, if not getting out of control,” the statement added.

The proposal calls for de-escalation and eventual ceasefire in Ukraine, an end to economic sanctions, and urges all parties to avoid nuclear escalation. 

During his media briefing, President Putin said Beijing’s peace plan “correlates to the point of view of the Russian Federation”.

“We believe that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China are consonant with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when they are ready for that in the West and Kyiv. However, so far we see no such readiness from their side,” Putin said.

On Tuesday, White House national security council spokesperson John Kirby criticised the plan as the US does not believe China is capable of being an impartial mediator between Moscow and Kyiv over the war in Ukraine.

“I don’t think you can reasonably look at China as impartial in any way,” he said.

He said if China really wants to end the war it would pressure Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

“[Xi] and his regime keeps parroting the Russian propaganda that this is somehow a war of the west on Russia, that it’s some sort of existential threat to Mr. Putin,” Mr Kirby said.

“That’s just a bunch of malarkey. Ukraine posed no threat to anybody, let alone Russia.”

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