Macron, Ursula von der Leyen to press China’s Xi on Ukraine - GulfToday

Macron, Ursula von der Leyen to press China’s Xi on Ukraine


French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference. File photo

French and EU leaders will on Thursday seek to make Europe's case for bringing an end to the conflict in Ukraine in a Beijing meeting with Xi Jinping, a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will be greeted late afternoon by the Chinese president at the Great Hall of the People, the heart of power in the capital.

Western pressure is mounting on China to take a more active role in the peace process in Ukraine — though Beijing is officially neutral, Xi has never condemned the Russian invasion.


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While he recently went to Moscow to reaffirm his alliance with Putin -- framed as an anti-Western front -- Xi has not even spoken on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Macron, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon for a three-day state visit, said he wants to "be a voice that unites Europe" over Ukraine, and that coming to China with von der Leyen serves to "underline the consistency of this approach".

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a meeting.

On Wednesday, Macron said Beijing had a "major role" to play in finding a path to peace in Ukraine, welcoming China's claimed "willingness to commit to a resolution" of the conflict.

Von der Leyen took a sterner tack last week in Brussels, saying: "How China continues to interact with Putin's war will be a determining factor for EU-China relations going forward."

In a Thursday morning meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People, Macron stressed the importance of dialogue between China and France "in these troubled times".

"The ability to share a common analysis and build a common path is essential," he said.

Macron is set to meet the head of China's top legislative body, Zhao Leji, before a one-on-one meeting with Xi in the afternoon.

The pair will give statements to the press, followed by a three-way meeting with von der Leyen and, finally, a state dinner.

Agence France-Presse




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