Home » Macron Counting on China’s Xi ‘to Reason’ with Russia Over Ukraine War
China France News Ukraine

Macron Counting on China’s Xi ‘to Reason’ with Russia Over Ukraine War

French President Emmanuel Macron told Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping he was counting on him to “reason” with Russia and help end the war in Ukraine.

In his opening remarks at talks in Beijing on Thursday, Macron said Russia had “put an end to decades of peace in Europe.”

China has claimed neutrality in the conflict and attempted to frame itself as a agent of peace. But it has refused to condemn the Russian invasion and continued to tighten its economic and diplomatic ties with the Kremlin over the past year – including a state visit from Xi to Moscow last month.

Macron arrived in Beijing on Wednesday with high expectations for a possible breakthrough on working with China to find solutions to end Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Ukraine tops the agenda, but Macron’s trip also has a strong economic component, with the French president traveling in China with a delegation of roughly 50 business leaders, with some expected to finalize or even sign new deals during the trip.Xi said during the talks that Macron’s visit would “inject new impetus” to China-Europe relations, according to Chinese state media CCTV.

The Chinese president said the two countries “have the ability and responsibility to transcend differences and constraints,” citing common work on climate change and African development, CCTV reported.

Xi also said during meetings with Macron that he is ready to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the right moment, French diplomatic sources told CNN.

Macron was expected to meet with both Xi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a trilateral meeting later Thursday, according to an Elysee Palace source, in keeping with a precedent of joint diplomacy with China between France and the European Union.

Europe and China are seeking to find ways to reconnect, following three years of China’s stringent pandemic travel controls and deteriorating ties over a range of issues including China’s human rights record to its stance on the war in Ukraine.

Ahead of the visit, von der Leyen also pledged that Ukraine would be an “important topic” of her meetings with Chinese leadership. Both she and Macron spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in recent days ahead of their travel.

A vaguely worded proposal for a “political solution” to the war released by Beijing earlier this year was met with skepticism from European leaders, including von der Leyen, amid criticism that some proposals – like a ceasefire – favored Russia.

Nevertheless, Macron has remained optimistic about working with China to move toward peace.

Speaking to members of the French community in Beijing on Wednesday, Macron said that China can play a “major role” in the conflict in Ukraine because of its close relationship with Russia. He added that it would be wrong to allow Russia to have exclusive dialogue with China regarding the path toward peace in Ukraine.

Prior to his trip, an Elysee source last week told reporters Macron was not in China “to question the Chinese red lines – notably the refusal to condemn Russia,” but rather to find a way to create initiatives that could benefit the Ukrainian people and “then create a way to identify a solution to this war.”

A recent example of China as mediator was on show in Beijing on Thursday, as Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s Foreign Ministers signed a joint statement related to the resumption of their bilateral relations after seven years, following a landmark agreement mediated by China last month.

Source : CNN