Macron from France, the E.U. chief, called on China to intervene in the Ukraine battle

April 10, 2023: On Thursday, two of Europe’s top political heavyweights held talks with China’s President Xi Jinping when the EU-Sino connections were at a serious crossroads.

After a grand military ceremony and bilateral and trilateral talks, French President Emmanuel Macron called Xi to “bring back Russia to reason.”

He said China could also help bring Moscow, with which Beijing maintains friendly relations, back to the negotiating table more than a year after the Kremlin launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Xi said all countries should respect promises of not using nuclear weapons and “refrain from any action that would lead to more deterioration of the condition or even to it getting out of control,” according to Reuters.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in Beijing for a discussion with Xi, said in a news conference, “As a member of the U.N. Security Council, there is a big responsibility we expect China will play its condition and promote a just peace, one that is respecting Ukraine’s sovereign and territorial integrity, one of the cornerstones of the U.N. charter.”

She added the E.U. was counting on China not to give military supplies to Russia directly or indirectly, which would “significantly harm our relationship” and be a “violation of international law.”

“I encouraged President Xi to reach out to President Zelenskyy,” von der Leyen said. “Xi reiterated his willingness to speak when rules and time are right.”

She said the E.U. had concerns over its ballooning trade deficit with China, the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and E.U. companies not being allowed to operate on a level playing field in the Chinese market.

This has led to calls by some to decouple from China. “I doubt this is a viable or desirable strategy,” she said. “We wish to solve the current issues through dialogue, de risking through diplomacy.”

China was the largest source of E.U. imports and the third largest buyer of E.U. goods in 2022, highlighting Beijing’s economic importance for Europe. This is particularly relevant when E.U.’s economic increase is vulnerable to the continued war in Ukraine.

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