French President Emmanuel Macron has peace in Ukraine on his agenda, as he prepares to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday during a three-day state visit to Beijing.
Macron is accompanied by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is also expected to press the Chinese president on his Russian ties.
Both European leaders expressed their intention to persuade Beijing to use its influence over Moscow by helping achieve peace in Ukraine. While China has called for a peaceful resolution to the war, it has steered clear of condemning Russia’s invasion.
Last month, Xi visited Moscow and held prolonged talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two leaders celebrated their “close ties.”
Strengthing EU-China ties
The visit comes as Europe and China strive to overcome growing differences in recent years, ranging from technological competition, to the situation in Taiwan and China’s growing closeness to Russia despite the war in Ukraine.
Ahead of the visit, Macron said he wants to “be a voice that unites Europe” over Ukraine.
China meanwhile hopes the visit will help avoid Europe following in the footsteps of the US. Tensions between the two countries have continued to rise, with an exchange of accusations on both sides in recent months.
However, Europe has strong economic ties to China, and has therefore been consumed in a balancing act with Beijing.
“Macron’s visit is expected to produce concrete results in furthering economic and trade cooperation between China and France, as well as to increase political mutual trust,” Chinese state media outlet Global Times wrote in an editorial on Thursday.
rmt/rc (AFP, Reuters)