Emmanuel Macron “counts” on Xi Jinping to “bring Russia to its senses”

“I know I can count on you to bring Russia to its senses and bring everyone back to the negotiating table. On a state visit to Beijing, Emmanuel Macron called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to use his influence to bring peace to Ukraine. Received in the morning by Prime Minister Li Qiang, the Head of State “discussed the conflict in Ukraine”, according to the French presidency. “In these troubled times that we are going through”, he underlined “the importance” of “dialogue between China and France”.

He then spoke with the President of the National Assembly Zhao Leji, with whom he “underlined the impacts of the war in Ukraine on security and global strategic balances”. At the same time, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who came with the French President and received by Li Qiang, stressed that “EU-China relations have become complex in recent years, and it is important that we together discuss all aspects of this relationship today”, especially in this “volatile geopolitical environment”.

A united European voice?

It was only then that Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping met in an official bilateral meeting. The two leaders then responded to the press in the early morning, before a trilateral meeting with Ursula von der Leyen. In recent weeks, international pressure has mounted a notch on China to encourage it to get involved for peace in Ukraine. Because, if Beijing says it is officially neutral, Xi Jinping has never condemned the Russian invasion or even spoken on the phone with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Conversely, he recently went to Moscow to reaffirm his alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the guise of an anti-Western front. In this context, Emmanuel Macron has the ambition to “be a voice that unites Europe”, which is why he invited the President of the European Commission to accompany him, as he recalled on Wednesday in a speech. . It remains to adopt the same tone, so as not to weaken the story of a united European front.

On the first day of his three-day state visit, the French president said on Wednesday that Beijing could play a “major role” in “finding a path of peace” in Ukraine, citing the 12-point document on the Chinese position published in February. Ursula von der Leyen, for her part, issued a much harsher warning last week in Brussels: “How China continues to react to Putin’s war will be a determining factor in the future of relations between the EU and China”.

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