Macron, von der Leyen to visit China, putting pressure on key Russian ally
Emmanuel Macron (Photo:REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)
French President Emmanuel Macron plans to visit China in early April, together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, aiming to persuade Beijing into pressuring Moscow to end the war against Ukraine, Macron said at a press briefing on March 24, as reported by Politico.
Macron suggested that von der Leyen joining him on the trip to Beijing will enable the EU to speak "with a unified voice." The European Commission confirmed that the head of the organization will join Macron.
The president added that he spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to coordinate EU’s position in talks with China, crystallizing a common vision: "Engage with China in order to put pressure on Russia."
On Feb. 25, Reuters reported that Macron said China should help the world community put pressure on Russia, and stop it from using chemical or nuclear weapons, as well as stop its aggression against Ukraine.
On March 20-22, Xi Jinping visited Moscow – for the first time in four years. He is the first leader to meet with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for his war crimes in Ukraine.
On March 20, the Financial Times reported that after a visit to the Kremlin, Xi Jinping will hold a phone call with Zelenskyy. However, according to the President of Ukraine, Beijing is yet to confirm this.
China released its 12-point "peace plan" on Feb. 24, outlining its stance on resolving the conflict.
The plan calls for a ceasefire and negotiations but notably omits any mention of Russia withdrawing its troops from occupied Ukrainian territory.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he appreciated China's engagement in dialogue about Ukraine, although he disagreed with certain aspects of the plan.
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