Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow on Monday and said they would discuss a 12-point peace proposal for the Ukraine war that Beijing has put forward.
“We have thoroughly studied your proposals for resolving the acute crisis in Ukraine,” Putin told Xi, according to the Russian news agency TASS. “Of course, we will have an opportunity to discuss this.” He added that Russia is always open to negotiations.
Xi will be in Moscow until Wednesday and is expected to hold virtual talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following his meetings with Putin. Ahead of his arrival in Moscow, Xi called for a “rational way” out of the Ukraine conflict in an op-ed for the Rossiiskaya Gazeta, a newspaper published by the Russian government.
Xi said in the op-ed that China’s 12-point peace plan, which calls for an end to hostilities and the resumption of peace talks, could be the basis for the discussions to end the war. “The document serves as a constructive factor in neutralizing the consequences of the crisis and promoting a political settlement,” he wrote. “Complex problems do not have simple solutions.”
The Biden administration has come out strongly against any Chinese efforts to mediate a ceasefire. On Friday, John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the administration does not “support calls for a ceasefire right now.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken doubled down on this position on Monday, saying that the world must “not be fooled” by China’s peace plan. The talking point from the Biden administration is that a pause in fighting could solidify Russian territorial gains.
“Calling for a ceasefire that does not include the removal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would effectively be supporting the ratification of the Russian conquest … 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.
The Biden administration’s position follows a pattern of the US and its allies discouraging peace talks throughout the conflict. While the US has rejected China’s proposal, Zelensky expressed an openness to the plan and called for a meeting with Xi after it was put forward.