France’s Emmanuel Macron to Press Xi Jinping on China’s Support of Russia
French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to press Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a trip to China this week to limit support for Russia in its war against Ukraine, according to French officials, amid growing Western concerns over Beijing’s deepening economic and political ties with Moscow.
Mr. Macron is scheduled to arrive in China on Wednesday, a day before his meeting with Mr. Xi in a bid to dissuade him from throwing his full weight behind Russia’s war campaign, French officials said. China is Russia’s most significant partner and an increasingly important economic lifeline as it faces Western sanctions.
Above all Mr. Macron and other European leaders want to prevent China from crossing the West’s redline—that Beijing starts providing weapons on a large scale to Moscow.
“We have no interest in China siding completely on the Russian side,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
The French president faces an uphill battle in persuading Mr. Xi. Just last month the Chinese leader visited Moscow, where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to showcase their solidarity. China hasn’t condemned the Kremlin’s invasion of its neighbor, and has adopted Russia’s policy of not calling it a war. Russia has been one of China’s top oil suppliers amid the war in Ukraine.
“Macron doesn’t have superpowers,” said Marc Julienne, the lead China analyst at the French Institute of International Relations. “All the signals that China is sending us is that Xi Jinping supports Russia.”
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