French President Emmanuel Macron had peace in Ukraine on the agenda during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday during a three-day state visit to Beijing.
Macron is accompanied by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is also expected to press the Chinese president on his ties to Russia.
The French president held a series of meetings with Chinese leaders, including newly appointed Premier Li Qiang, who hosted Macron at the Great Hall of the People for talks. Later, Li will also have a “working lunch” with von der Leyen.
Macron stressed the importance of dialogue between China and France “in these difficult times.”
The ability to share a common analysis and build a common path is essential,” he said.
After Macron’s talks with Xi, the couple will give statements to the press, followed by a three-way meeting with von der Leyen and, finally, a state dinner.
Both European leaders have expressed their intention to persuade Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to help bring about peace in Ukraine. While China has called for a peaceful resolution to the war, it has refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.
Last month, Xi visited Moscow and held lengthy talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which the two leaders celebrated their “close ties.”
In telling contrast, Xi has so far not even spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the phone.
Strengthening EU-China ties
The visit comes as Europe and China struggle to overcome growing differences in recent years, ranging from technological competition to the situation in Taiwan and China’s growing closeness with Russia despite the war in Ukraine.
Before the visit, Macron said he wants to “be a voice that unites Europe” about Ukraine.
Meanwhile, China hopes the visit will help prevent the kind of deterioration in relations that has been seen between it and the United States. Beijing sees Washington leading efforts to contain its economic growth, with an exchange of accusations by both parties in recent months.
However, Europe’s strong economic ties to China mean it has been forced to perform a balancing act with Beijing.
This consideration of economic interests did not stop von der Leyen from issuing a warning to Beijing in Brussels last week, saying: “How China continues to interact with Putin’s war will be a determining factor for the future of EU-US relations.” China”.
“Macron’s visit is expected to produce concrete results in promoting China-France economic and trade cooperation as well as increasing political mutual trust,” the Chinese state media said. global times he wrote in an editorial Thursday.
lo,rmt/rc (AFP, Reuters)