Emmanuel Macron in China urges ‘shared responsibility for peace’

French officials earlier said Macron planned to urge Xi in Thursday’s talks to use Beijing’s influence with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but did not expect a big change in the Chinese position.

Macron will be accompanied by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in a show of European unity in dealings with Beijing.

Xi and Putin declared their governments had “boundless friendship” before Moscow’s February 2022 attack on Ukraine. Beijing has refused to criticize the Kremlin but has tried to appear neutral and has called for a ceasefire and peace talks.

In a speech to French residents of China, Macron said he would “try to build and somehow involve China in a shared responsibility for peace and stability in international affairs,” including Ukraine, Iran and North Korea.

Macron expressed his hope that China “participates in initiatives that are useful to the Ukrainian people.”

“Dialogue with China is essential,” Macron said during the event at the French Embassy.

The Xi government sees Russia as a source of power and as a partner in opposing what both say is US domination of global affairs.

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French President Emmanuel Macron, left, is received by Chinese Premier Li Qiang (Thibault Camus/AP, Pool)

China is the biggest buyer of Russian oil and gas, helping prop up Kremlin revenue in the face of Western sanctions. That increases Chinese influence, but Xi seems reluctant to jeopardize that partnership by putting pressure on Putin.

Macron highlighted Putin’s announcement that Moscow plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which China opposes.

“Territorial integrity, the sovereignty of nations is part” of the United Nations Charter, which China affirmed, Macron said.

Upholding those principles “means moving forward together and trying to find a path to peace,” Macron said.

He noted that China proposed a peace plan in February and that while France does not fully agree with it, the plan “shows a willingness to commit to resolving the conflict.”


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