In China, Macron appeals to Xi to help end Ukraine conflict
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to help convince Russia to hold negotiations toward ending the war in Ukraine as the two leaders met in Beijing on Thursday.
Beijing could be a "game changer" in Ukraine, a top official at France's presidential Elysee Palace said last week, adding that China is now the only country that can make a significant difference on the war in favor of either Russia or Ukraine.
"We need to find a lasting peace that respects internationally recognized borders and avoids any form of escalation. I believe that this is also an important issue for China, as much as it is for France and for Europe," Macron said.
Xi said, "China still sees Europe as an independent pole in a multipolar world, and supports its efforts to achieve strategic autonomy."
China has said its stance was neutral, but has given diplomatic support to Moscow. Xi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last month, but has not spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy since the onset of the conflict in February last year.
Marc Julienne, head researcher for Asian studies at the French Institute of International Relations, told Nikkei Asia that trying to change Beijing's mind is a "waste of breath."
"The interest of China today is not to get involved in the conflict, neither on one side or the other," he said. Beijing lends "support to Putin politically, but not further" and its stance on the conflict is "ambiguous, but constant." Xi is keen to ensure that Putin does not lose a war "against the EU, against NATO, against liberal democracies," Julienne said, but added that Macron could use his meeting with Xi to raise the issue of Taiwan.
>> See the whole article on the Nikkei Asia website