The leaders of China and Russia agreed in Moscow on Tuesday to deepen their partnership on economic and political matters, further setting themselves apart from the US and other Western nations. On their second day of talks, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping did not agree on China's proposal for a cease-fire in Ukraine. "Of course, we have not overlooked the situation around Ukraine," Putin said later at a news conference, the Washington Post reports. He said "many of the provisions of the peace plan" align with Russian goals and could be included in a settlement "when the West and Kyiv are ready for it." He added, "However, so far, we do not observe such readiness on their part."
Xi, who refers to Russia's invasion as the "Ukraine crisis," said his nation still wants peace talks, per the New York Times. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, which China's Foreign Ministry criticized by saying Japan should "help de-escalate the situation instead of the opposite." At the press conference, Xi said his country has remained impartial on the fighting in Ukraine and is on the "right side of history." China's proposal urges negotiations and respect for national sovereignty but does not specifically call on Russia to withdraw, per the BBC.
In China, media coverage cast the Xi-Putin talks as evidence of China's rise to global leadership and of a new world order, per the Post. During Xi's three-day trip, the two leaders have outlined a new economic order, as well, as a counterweight to Western nations; their cooperation could ease the pain of sanctions or other moves against them over the war in Ukraine. "This visit will clearly tell the Americans that China is not to be intimidated," said an article shared on WeChat. Coverage hailing the depth of the partnership has pointed out that Xi and Putin have now met at least 40 times and reported that two Chinese pandas on loan to the Moscow Zoo are thriving. (Read more Russia stories.)