China appears to be using its status as an economic powerhouse to play a larger diplomatic role on the world stage. Following China's efforts to reconcile Saudi Arabia and Iran, Chinese President Xi Jinping is now slated to speak with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky for the first time since the conflict in Ukraine began. Xi is expected to broker ceasefire between the two nations.
According to the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Xi will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in person in Moscow. The trip will come just days after Xi won a third term as China’s head of state.
The publication reports that Beijing will be taking on an active role in mediating an end to the conflict, which began in February 2022, and follows China’s proposal for a ceasefire between the two countries, putting him on the path to becoming communist nation's longest-running leader in office.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The new surge of diplomacy reflects a conviction on the part of Mr. Xi and the Communist Party that China can offer an alternative to the U.S.-led model of international relations by relying on commercial ties rather than military might to sway the decisions of other countries.
An expansion of Beijing’s diplomatic clout also offers potential leverage against what Mr. Xi criticized last week as a Cold War-style, U.S.-led campaign of “all-round containment, encirclement and suppression” against China.
The United States shot down China’s peace proposal ahead of its release, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken casting doubts over China’s position on the matter.
Speaking in Munich last month, Blinken claimed that China provided non-lethal assistance to Russia’s military efforts in Ukraine and warned China against aiding Russia even further, citing an intelligence report that Beijing is considering providing lethal support.
“There are various kinds of lethal assistance that they are at least contemplating providing, to include weapons,” Blinken said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
China dismissed his remarks as a smear, with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi urging the United States to "face up and resolve the damage caused by the indiscriminate use of force," referring to Biden's shootdown of an alleged spy balloon.
China’s ceasefire proposal condemned a “Cold War mentality,” which was largely understood to refer to the United States’ treatment of Russia and other nations opposed to its pro-U.S. policies.
“The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs,” the proposal said, referencing NATO without mentioning it by name.