Macron Urges Xi Not to Arm Russia Amid Ukraine Conflict

Fri Apr 07 2023
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BEIJING: French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to refrain from sending arms to Russia amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, a French official told Axios.

Macron, who was on a three-day visit to China, met with Xi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

The European leaders asked Xi to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and warned that there would be consequences if China armed Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Macron believes it is better to have Beijing mediating for peace than arming Russia. However, some Western analysts view China’s “peace plan” as diplomatic cover for Russia’s aggression.

Macron and von der Leyen’s visit comes at a sensitive time in the EU’s debate on how to proceed with China, a major trade partner and “systemic rival.”

The French president’s advisers have reportedly discussed offering Xi a bargain whereby France will resist the United States’ (US) pressure to decouple from China if Beijing invests diplomatic capital in bringing about peace in Ukraine.

Macron’s meeting with Xi Jinping comes as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to escalate, with both sides accusing the other of aggression.

The conflict has raised concerns among Western leaders about the possibility of a wider war and the potential for Russia to use military force to annex more territory.

Macron’s moderate approach to China

Macron’s approach to China is seen as more moderate than that of other Western leaders, in part because he doesn’t face as much domestic pressure to take a tough stance.

However, he has been vocal about the need for China to respect human rights and international law and has also expressed concerns about China’s growing economic and political influence.

In addition to discussing Ukraine, Macron and Xi also talked about trade and investment, with Macron bringing a delegation of more than 50 business leaders to Beijing to explore opportunities in sectors like finance, healthcare, and the environment.

The two presidents also discussed climate change and the need for global cooperation to address the issue.

Macron’s visit to China highlights the complex and often conflicting relationships between major world powers, as countries like France try to balance their economic interests with their concerns about security and human rights.

It also underscores the growing role that China is playing on the global stage as the country seeks to expand its influence and build closer ties with other nations.

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