Europe is ‘counting on China’ to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, leaders tell Xi Jinping in Beijing
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron deliver united message to Chinese president during visit ; but as French leader signed over 20 business deals on China trip, EU chief took sterner line with Xi on economic grievances, human rights and Taiwan
Europe is “counting on China” to help end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That was the message delivered personally to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday by both European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Von der Leyen said China, as a permanent member of the United Nations’ Security Council, “has a big responsibility to use its influence in a friendship that is built on decades with Russia”. “We count on China to really exert also this responsibility and to be very clear in the messaging,” the German said.
The trip came a week after von der Leyen delivered a high-profile speech on China in Brussels, in which she called for a “de-risking” of the trade relationship by reducing European dependencies on China for critical commodities and restricting the flow of sensitive technologies to the world’s second-largest economy.
Experts said the commission would face a challenge in getting member states on board with a strategy that could ratchet up trade tensions with China – a sentiment that was borne out by Thursday’s exchanges in Beijing.
“By bringing von der Leyen along with him, Emmanuel Macron wanted to showcase European unity but also the French European leadership,” said Marc Julienne, head of China research at the Institut Français des Relations Internationales, a French think tank. “At the end of the day, President Macron was not able to address critical issues like trade deficit, stability in the Taiwan Strait or human rights, instead promoting deeper economic exchanges,” he added.
>> See the whole article on the South China Morning Post website