Although President Xi still plans to visit, Putin's arrest by the International Criminal Court complicates the trip.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week highlighted China’s aspirations for a greater role on the world stage. But they also revealed the perils of global diplomacy: Hours after Friday's announcement of the trip, an international arrest warrant was issued for Putin on war crimes charges, taking at least some wind out of the sails of China's big reveal.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday he believes the decision by the International Criminal Court in The Hague to charge Putin was “justified.” Speaking to reporters as he left the White House for his Delaware home, he said Putin “clearly committed war crimes.”
While the U.S. does not recognize the court, Biden said it “makes a very strong point” to call out the Russian leader for his actions in ordering the invasion of Ukraine.
The Biden administration believes China's desire to be seen as a broker for peace between Russia and Ukraine may be viewed more critically now that Putin is officially a war crime suspect, according to two U.S. officials. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the matter publicly, said the administration hopes the warrants will help mobilize heretofore neutral countries to weigh in on the conflict.
Asked about the Xi-Putin meeting, Biden said, “Well, we’ll see when that meeting takes place.”
Speaking before the ICC warrant was unveiled, Ukrainian analysts cautioned against falling into a potential trap ahead of the Xi-Putin meeting. “We need to be aware that such peace talks are a trap for Ukraine and its diplomatic corps,” said Yurii Poita, who heads the Asia section at the Kyiv-based New Geopolitics Research Network.