What game have Putin and Xi Jinping started, and how not to get burned by Zelensky
Xi Jinping intends to meet with Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky. The mainstream media are now reporting on these meetings. At the same time, China, Ukraine and Russia have not officially confirmed this information.
What makes the Putin-Xi conversation so important
Xi Jinping is going to visit Moscow next week. Earlier it was said that the Chinese president could visit Russia in April. To prepare this visit, Wang Yi, the chief party diplomat of China, came to Moscow.
However, it is becoming clear that Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow will take place earlier. It will be a meaningful demonstration of new cooperation between Russia and China against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. Prior to this, Putin and his Chinese counterpart met only once during the great war in Ukraine. It was at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This meeting was not very pleasant for Putin, because the central figure was not him, but Xi Jinping.
Then it was said that Xi demanded that Putin end the war as soon as possible. However, there was no official confirmation of this statement. Many observers believed that Putin interpreted this call as an offer to defeat Ukraine as soon as possible, and not at all as an offer to start negotiations that should end the war.
Now the meeting of the presidents will take place shortly after China unveiled its so-called “peace plan”, which is considered a certain compromise towards Russia. The very conversation between Putin and Xi would not really matter if it were not believed that Xi would talk to Zelensky after it.
The President of Ukraine has repeatedly said that he would like to speak with the Chinese leader. However, during the year of the great war, such contact did not occur. There were contacts at the level of heads of foreign affairs agencies. China publicly continued to repeat, along with calls for peace, all these foreign policy statements by Russia, which became a pretext for Moscow to invade Ukraine. Now there is such a virtual meeting, because Xi will not come to Kyiv, but it will still take place.
What game is Xi Jinping playing?
However, the question arises as to what will be the content and consequences of this meeting. It is very important for Xi to demonstrate that he is a global player, and much more authoritative than US President Joe Biden.
This became clear when the representatives of Saudi Arabia and Iran signed in Beijing the right to restore diplomatic relations. It turned out that, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally of the United States, when talking about the possibility of reconciliation with Iran, China can be a mediator, because it has good relations with both countries, unlike the United States.
C can play the same game now. He can talk to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine at a time when Washington has no real contact with Putin. But what will they talk about?
The Chinese peace plan speaks of compromises not from the Russian side, but from the Ukrainian side. It is still unclear what the Chinese had in mind when they talked about the territorial integrity of all states. What constitutional territory do they recognize as integral? What year are they guided by their proposals?
It is obvious that Xi will stick to a simple Chinese ideologeme – Russia cannot be defeated, let alone defeated on Western terms. These are the conditions he will offer Zelensky.
The question is not whether the President of Ukraine will agree to these conditions. The point is that the very conversation with Xi about the prospects for ending the war without Western allies could to some extent cast a shadow on relations between Ukraine and the United States.
Putin and Xi can play together. Like: “You offer him a meeting. It doesn’t matter what compromises you offer, the main thing is that you will create new problems for his relations with the Americans, and then we will wait until 2024 – the victory of Donald Trump in the elections – and we will get everything we wanted.” So it can be.
Of course, it would be strange if Zelensky refused to meet with Xi when he insisted on it for a whole year.
Why the conversation between Zelensky and Xi is super important
There is another dangerous moment. If Xi agrees with Putin on certain outlines for ending the war, but these are unacceptable to Ukraine, then China will have a free hand. Like, Putin gravitates toward peace, but Zelensky does not. Then China can help “peace-loving” Russia economically.
That is, there are many options. Most of them can be dangerous for the future of Ukraine.
I hope that in Kyiv they will think a hundred thousand times about the content of the conversation between Xi and Zelensky, if, of course, this conversation takes place. You have to be very careful during this conversation. Do not forget that China has its own interests in relations with the US, Russia and the EU. Beijing is ready to use the war in Ukraine in order to protect these interests.