French President Emmanuel Macron has peace in Ukraine on his agenda As he prepares to meet 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 leader over his relations with Russia.
The French president kicked off a series of meetings with Chinese leaders, receiving newly appointed Premier Li Qiang Macron to the Great Hall of the People for talks. He would also later bring me a “business lunch” with von der Leyen.
The two European leaders have expressed their intention to persuade Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to help achieve peace in Ukraine. While China called for a peaceful resolution to the war, it shied away from condemning Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.
Last month , Xi visited Moscow and held lengthy talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin The two leaders celebrated their “close relationship”.
In stark contrast, Xi has yet to speak on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Strengthening relations between the European Union and China
The visit comes as Europe and China struggle to bridge growing differences in recent years, ranging from technological competition to the situation in Taiwan and China’s growing rapprochement with Russia despite the war in Ukraine.
before visiting, Macron said he wanted to be a “unifying voice in Europe”. over Ukraine.
Meanwhile, China hopes that the visit will help avoid the kind of deterioration in relations seen between it and the United States. Beijing sees Washington as leading efforts to contain its economic rise Recriminations have been exchanged on both sides in recent months.
However, Europe’s strong economic ties with China meant that it had to do a balancing act with Beijing.
This consideration of economic interests did not prevent 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 decisive factor for moving forward in relations between the European Union and China.”
Chinese state media reported that “Macron’s visit is expected to yield tangible results in promoting economic and trade cooperation between China and France, as well as increasing political mutual trust.” Global Times wrote in an editorial on Thursday.
tj, rmt/rc (AFP, Reuters)
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