WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday warned that China is moving forward with a unilateral peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
White House spokesman John Kirby said Chinese President Xi Jinping should now approach Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy directly Xi meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The “so-called peace plan” China has proposed, Kirby said, would formalize Putin’s gains and allow Russia to continue occupying parts of Ukraine.
“It would be a classic part of the China playbook to go into a meeting like this and say, ‘Look, we’re the ones calling for an end to the fighting and no one else is,'” Kirby said. “The reason the rest of the world isn’t demanding it now is that it would effectively validate Russia’s geographic achievements in Ukraine and put Mr. Zelenskyy at a significant disadvantage.”
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China’s leader is spend several days in Russia next week for what said a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry would be a “journey for peace”.
China has called for a ceasefire and peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, and released a vaguely worded proposal to end the fighting.
China claims to be neutral in the war but has professed “boundless” friendship with Russia and has criticized sanctions against Russia.
China’s Growing Influence
President Xi’s trip to Russia comes days after Beijing brokered talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic ties.
“China has made no secret that it wants to expand its influence around the world, be it in Africa, Latin America or the Middle East,” Kirby said on Friday.
The United States has made efforts of its own to counter China’s growing influence. On Monday, Biden joined leaders of Australia and Britain unveil a much-anticipated plan to modernize Australia’s submarine fleet as a counterbalance to China’s military build-up.
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Deadly help possible?
The upcoming meeting between Xi and Putin also follows Warnings from Washington that China is considering providing lethal support to Russia.
Politico reported Thursday that Chinese companies – one of them a state-owned defense company – supplied 1,000 assault rifles and other equipment for military use to Russian companies between June and December 2022.
Kirby said the sales are part of “existing, long-standing business transactions” between Chinese companies and the Russians. There is nothing to suggest these rifles are intended for battlefield use, he added.
But while there has been no sign that Beijing has decided to provide lethal support to Russia, Kirby said, the government has also seen no sign that they have taken that option off the table.
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No call between Biden and Xi
Biden, who has stressed the importance of keeping lines of communication open with Xi, most recently met his Chinese counterpart on the fringes of the G-20 summit in November.
After The US shot down a Chinese spy balloon who flew through American airspace last month, Biden said he plans to speak with Xi.
Kirby said Friday that call has not yet been arranged.
Contribution: Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: China should include Zelenskyy in peace talks with Putin: White House
Source : news.yahoo.com