New Delhi, March 21
Presidents of Russia and China Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping continued their talks in Moscow for the second day on Tuesday that also included a surprise visitor in the form of Japanese PM Fumio Kishida in neighbouring Ukraine where he arrived secretly after a meeting with PM Narendra Modi in Delhi on Monday.
Editorial: Xi in Russia
The Chinese peace proposal for Ukraine was believed to be the main subject matter of discussion. Speaking on the Putin-Xi meeting, spokesperson for the powerful US National Security Council John Kirby said, “If coming out of this meeting, there’s some sort of call for a ceasefire, well, that’s just going to be unacceptable because all that’s going to do is ratify Russian’s conquest to date.”
The 12-point Chinese peace proposal calls for de-escalation and eventual ceasefire in Ukraine. In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the meeting between Xi and Putin would help bring about peace. “Russia has carefully studied China’s position paper on the political settlement of the Ukrainian issue, and is open to peace talks,” it said. On Kishida’s visit, it said, “We hope Japan can do more things to de-escalate the situation instead of the opposite.”
Nearly 800 km away, Kishida arrived in Kyiv and it was not clear if his sudden travel via train from Poland to Ukraine was meant to show up Xi who was in Moscow or simply another attempt by G7 to encourage the Ukrainian army to keep on fighting. In his Delhi speech, Kishida had criticised Russia several times. Another prosaic reason could be that Kishida, who is to chair the G7 summit in May, is the only leader from this bloc who hasn’t visited Ukraine. Kishida, said Japanese media, wanted to “show respect to the courage and patience of the Ukrainian people.
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