France Counts on Chinese President to ‘Bring Russia to its Senses’

Thu Apr 06 2023
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PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday that he was counting on him to “bring Russia to its senses” over its ongoing war with Ukraine.

French president Macron, who arrived on Wednesday for a 3-day state visit, has made clear he is seeking to dissuade Beijing from supporting Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour.

Macron was greeted by the Chinese president moments earlier outside the Great Hall of the People, the centre of power in China’s capital, as both countries national anthems played.

To coincide with their meeting, CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster, released a report in which Xi hailed China’s “positive and steady” relations with France as the world undergoes “profound historical changes”.

Macron has said during his visit that Beijing can play a “major role” in finding a road to peace in the conflict and welcomed its “willingness to commit to a resolution”.

His visit to China — first since 2019 — comes as Western pressure increases on Beijing to help push for peace in Ukraine.

Chinese president never condemned the Russian invasion

Though China is officially neutral, Xi Jinping has never condemned the Russian invasion.

While he recently went to Russia to reaffirm his alliance with Vladimir Putin, Xi has not spoken on the phone with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Macron, who is accompanied on his trip by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, said he wanted to be a voice that unites the continent of Europe over Ukraine and that coming to China with her serves to highlight the consistency of this approach.

In a Thursday morning meeting with Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People, the French president stressed the importance of talks between China and France “in these troubled times”.

He said the ability to share a mutual analysis and build a common path is necessary.

And in a separate meeting with Premier Li, von der Leyen told him that ties between China and the EU had grown “complex in recent years”.

She said that it is important that we discuss all aspects of these ties together today, especially in the current unstable geopolitical environment. 

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