French President Macron to Warn China Against Backing Russia in Ukraine Conflict

Fri Mar 31 2023
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PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will warn Chinese President Xi Jinping against backing Russia militarily in its war on Ukraine during his visit to China next week, according to an advisor to Macron who spoke to reporters on Friday.

The French official, who asked not to be named, said that if China were to take such a decision, it would have a major strategic effect on the conflict.

Macron wants to engage with China and present France’s position to identify a medium-term path for an end to the conflict.

The official added that China is the only country in the world capable of having an immediate and radical impact on the conflict, in one direction or the other.

China has never publicly backed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it has also never offered any criticism of Moscow. Western powers fear that Moscow is keen to encourage Chinese military cooperation to gain the upper hand in the conflict, although China has not made any such public offer to Moscow.

French President’s visit to China

Macron’s visit to China, starting on Wednesday alongside European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, comes after Xi held talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month. The French official described China as a “game-changer” in the conflict.

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia began in 2014 after Moscow annexed Crimea, which was part of Ukraine. Since then, there have been ongoing clashes between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The situation has escalated in recent months, with reports of a Russian military buildup along the border with Ukraine.

The European Union (EU) and the United States (US) have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, and have called on Moscow to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The United States has also provided military assistance to Ukraine. The conflict has led to the displacement of millions of people and has caused thousands of deaths.

Macron’s visit to China is part of efforts to strengthen ties between France and China, and to address issues such as climate change and trade.

The French President is expected to meet with Chinese officials and business leaders during his trip. The visit comes amid growing tensions between China and the West over a range of issues, including human rights abuses, trade, and geopolitics.

The French official said that Macron’s message to China would be clear: “We want to avoid the worst and that is why we need to engage with them (the Chinese) and present our position.”

Macron hopes that China will use its influence to help bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine and prevent further escalation.

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