An Opportunistic Alliance
The US described the alliance between Russia and China as an opportunistic one soon after Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded his two-day visit to Moscow on March 22, 2023. As President Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin were filmed saying warm goodbyes at the end of two days of closely-watched meetings in the Russian capital, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed deepening ties between China and Russia as a “marriage of convenience”. He told the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate: “I’m not sure if it’s conviction. Russia is very much the junior partner in the relationship and China had so far declined to provide weapons to Moscow for its war in Ukraine As we speak today, we have not seen them cross that line.” For his part, John Francis Kirby, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, stressed that Moscow and Beijing were trying to form a global alliance against the US-dominated NATO.
The Russian media have reported that President Xi and President Putin discussed various bilateral, regional and global issues at a time when the Russia-Ukraine War was going on. The visiting President also discussed his plans to end the war with the Russian strongman. However, President Putin blamed the US and its Western allies for not allowing him to implement the peace plan.
Meanwhile, the Joe Biden Administration is of the opinion that the Russian President has become isolated in Global Geopolitics. Hence, he is trying to boost ties with China for his (political) survival. Washington DC has once again clarified its position on the Russia-Ukraine War, stating that all the countries should abide by the UN Charter. In a different manner, the US has claimed that Russia breached the terms of the Charter by violating the sovereignty of another country (Ukraine).
At a time when President Xi was holding talks with his Russian counterpart in Moscow, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Ukraine on a surprise visit. He landed in Kiev after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Upon his arrival, Prime Minister Kishida appreciated the patience, tolerance and courage of Ukraine.
Foreign policy experts are of the opinion that the way international diplomacy revolves around the Russia-Ukraine War is remarkable. They believe that current positions of different countries can help one predict diplomatic steps of those countries in the coming days. It may be noted that Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued warrants of arrest for President Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova in the context of the situation in Ukraine on March 17, 2023 (ahead of President Xi’s visit to Moscow). Lvova-Belova is the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. The Court stated in the warrant that the Russian President would be arrested, if he set foot in any country under its jurisdiction. According to experts, the Chinese President’s arrival in Moscow has made it clear that Beijing, too, is not at all worried about the arrest warrant.
Meanwhile, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly compared the ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin to toilet paper. He said that any attempt to arrest President Putin would be a declaration of war on Russia. Medvedev explained: “Let’s imagine – obviously this situation which will never be realised – but nevertheless let’s imagine that it was realised: The current head of the nuclear state went to a territory, say Germany, and was arrested. What would that be? It would be a declaration of war on the Russian Federation. And, in that case, all our assets – all our missiles etc. – would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s Office.“
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, China and India have refrained from voting against Moscow on Human Rights Resolutions on the war at the UN. In Moscow, President Xi hinted that he was still with Russia. However, Beijing has claimed that its position is neutral, and President Xi’s visit to Russia was aimed at ensuring peace. Although the US and Europe suspect that China is providing Russia with weapons, Ukraine has said that it is yet to find any evidence of arms supply.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy that Tokyo would stand by Kiev during the crisis period. However, Japan would not supply arms to Ukraine as per the Peace Policy adopted (by Tokyo) after the Second World War. Prime Minister Kishida, who reached the Ukrainian capital from Poland by train after visiting India, discussed various issues with Zelenskyy. Later, he congratulated the people of the former Soviet Republic for fighting against the Russians, under the leadership of their President, for the past 13 months.
Tokyo issued a statement on March 22, mentioning that Kishida visited Kiev not only as the Prime Minister of Japan, but also as the Chairperson of the G-7 Group. Japan is worried about China’s increasing influence in the South Pacific Region. China and Russia recently conducted joint military exercises in the region adjacent to Japan. Tokyo also considers Chinese aggression against Taiwan as a real danger. From Kiev, Prime Minister Kishida sent a strong message to China that Japan stands with Europe and the US against the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
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