The White House said Friday it has "deep concerns" that China could try to portray itself as a "peacemaker" in Russia's war against Ukraine during next week's meeting of the Chinese and Russian leaders in Moscow.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said "there's a possibility" that Chinese President Xi Jinping may "raise this idea of a ceasefire" during his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin early next week.
"It would be a classic part of the China playbook to go into a meeting like this and come out of it saying, 'Look, we're the ones, you know, we're the ones calling for an end to the fighting and nobody else is," Kirby told reporters during a virtual briefing.
"The reason why the rest of the world is not calling for that right now is because, as I said, it would effectively ratify Russia's geographic gains inside Ukraine, and it would put Mr. Zelenskyy at a distinct disadvantage," he added, referring to Ukrainian Presiden Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Kirby first voiced the concerns Thursday, saying a 12-point proposal put forward by Beijing last month "sounds perfectly reasonable," but would effectively legitimize Russian territorial "conquest" in Ukraine.
"A ceasefire right now would basically ratify Russia's conquest. It would, in effect, recognize Russia's gains, and all of its attempts to conquer a neighbor's territory by force," he said.
China and Russia earlier Friday announced Xi will pay a three-day visit to Russia next week, beginning Monday, at Putin's invitation.
The two leaders are slated to discuss expanding Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena. A number of important bilateral documents are being prepared for signing on the sidelines of the meeting, according to the Kremlin.
Source: Anadolu Agency