President Xi Jinping's state visit to his counterpart Vladimir Putin has left abundant statements on the bilateral relationship between the two authoritarian powers and on the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine.
In the first area, the two countries send a message of growing closeness, signing a plethora of agreements in different commercial areas.
Until now, at least, that relationship has had a clear ceiling: China has avoided moves to support Russia that could trigger Western sanctions, showing that it is more interested in keeping trade flowing in that direction alive than in supporting the Kremlin.
The visit also reaffirms that —despite the strong collagen of common animosity to US supremacy— this is not a political-military alliance.
The relationship that the same partners defined a year ago as "without limits", at the moment it does have them.
And neither is it foreseeable that the clear subordination of a weak Moscow to a strong Beijing will change.
On the second issue, the future of the war in Ukraine, the visit highlights Beijing's efforts to pose as a neutral mediator.
The ties that he is building with Russia clash with that presumption, but they do not force him to rule out possible future mediation out of hand.
The peace initiatives must be addressed, and Kiev will do well to listen to Beijing's proposals, despite the fact that this plan still needs further maturation to be credible and while Xi, like Putin, continues to avoid calling the conflict in Ukraine a war and resorts to the euphemism of “crisis”.
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Putin has stated that "many of the provisions of the peace plan presented by China are in line with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peace agreement when they are ready for it in the West and Kiev."
The so-called Chinese peace plan —published a month ago— consists of a mere enumeration of principles, some formulated with contradictory ambiguity.
The first of them appeals to respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries and contains, in itself, criticism of the actions that Putin has undertaken against Ukraine, and that Beijing does not disapprove of.
China's position consists in practice of allowing the aggressor to achieve its objectives without paying any cost.
China does not condemn the invasion, nor does it endorse the sanctions against Russia and criticizes the military support for the victim.
But without that support, Putin would have subjugated Ukraine long ago.
It is necessary to work for peace - and that may be part of the meaning of Pedro Sánchez's visit to China on the 30th and 31st of this month - but at this moment the Kremlin is far from doing it: the attacked country continues to need help to defend itself while sanctions against Russia remain in force.