China not ‘fair’ player in Russia-Ukraine war: White House


National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on March 21 that China was not an impartial actor “by any means” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin supported Beijing’s proposal for a ceasefire in Ukraine during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Kremlin, he told reporters, I don’t think it can reasonably be considered fair,” he said.

Lacking a concrete plan, Beijing’s “12-point” proposal was dismissed by the West as a ploy to buy time for Putin to reorganize his army and strengthen the front line.

“They don’t condemn this aggression. They haven’t stopped buying Russian oil and Russian energy,” Kirby said.

Xi flew “all the way to Moscow” for the three-day visit, but said that he had “never spoken with President Zelensky, never visited Ukraine, and never attempted to use himself for Ukrainian ends.” I didn’t,” Kirby said. .

“He and his administration are parroting Russian propaganda that this is somehow a Western war against Russia, which is some sort of existential threat to Putin. Ukraine poses no threat to anyone, let alone Russia.”

Xi and Putin said on Tuesday to deepen the “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the two countries to strengthen the “unrestricted” partnership declared a month before Putin’s February 2022 invasion. also signed a joint declaration.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk ahead of their meeting at the Grand Kremlin Palace in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia March 21, 2023. (Grigory Sysoyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Kirby said that for Beijing to show objectivity on the issue, President Xi Jinping needs to engage Ukraine and “stand on the other side.”

“Right now, I don’t think they’ll be seen that way.”

Xi was expected to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after the Chinese leader met with Putin, but Kiev said the call had not been confirmed. He said he had called on Beijing to join Ukraine’s peace plan but was still waiting for a response. Both Kiev and the US insist on a complete withdrawal of Russian troops to end the war.

After the war, China became Russia’s most important trading partner amid sanctions imposed by the West. Russia will be China’s second largest source of crude oil in 2022, after Saudi Arabia. By some calculations, low-cost Russian barrels shunned by the West likely saved billions of dollars for Chinese refiners last year.

Xi and Putin held “informal” talks for four and a half hours after the Chinese leader’s arrival on Monday.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping toast during a dinner at The Palace of the Facets, a building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, March 21, 2023. (Pavel Byrkin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

While noting the growing partnership between the two countries, Kirby sees the relationship as more of a “marriage of convenience” than an “alliance”. For Xi, Russia has a role to play against US influence, and while Putin’s friends on the international stage can be counted “on the one hand, almost”, because his military is “always embarrassing.” , relies on Mr. Xi as a potential backer, Kirby added. .

“What we have seen is that these two countries are growing closer and see each other as a useful purpose for pushing back the rules-based order around the world,” he said. “In fact, both countries would rather see the rest of the world act by their own rules than by following the rules enshrined in the United Nations Charter.”

Putin and Xi Jinping also warned against taking any steps that could plunge the Ukraine conflict into an “out of control phase” and warned that there are no winners in a nuclear war.

Kirby said there was nothing in statements from previous Moscow meetings to indicate that Xi’s visit would help end the war.

He also said the United States does not want a ceasefire in Ukraine.

“The current ceasefire essentially gives him the time and space he needs to attempt to re-equip, redeploy, and redeploy to compensate for the expenditure of that resource by freezing the front line where it is now. I’ll give it to you,” Kirby said.

So far, there has been no indication that Beijing has provided lethal weapons to Russia, Kirby said, adding that it would also be against China’s interests.

Asked if Moscow’s developments would affect future talks between President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, Kirby’s answer was negative: The president still “kept the lines of communication open” with China, At an appropriate time,” pursue another conversation with Xi.