In Beijing, Macron says China has a 'major role' to play in Ukraine

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&In Beijing, Macron says China has a «major role” to play in Ukraine

Ludovic Marin Agence France-Presse “This war, which on several occasions I described as imperialist, as colonial, has in fact trampled on many of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which the two members of the Council of security that we are must resolutely defend”, said President Macron about France and China.

Katell Abiven – Agence France-Presse and Francesco Fontemaggi – Agence France-Presse

1:47 p.m.

  • Asia

Emmanuel Macron said in Beijing on Wednesday that China could “play a major role” in “finding a path to peace” in Ukraine, at the start of a visit aimed at renewing face-to-face dialogue with his Chinese counterpart Xi. Jinping.

China, “on the strength of its close relationship with Russia, further reaffirmed in recent days” with the Chinese President's recent state visit to Moscow, can “play a major role” in the resolution of the conflict, he said.

The “dialogue” with the Beijing authorities is therefore “indispensable”, added the French president.

“China has precisely proposed a peace plan […] It is indeed a desire to have a responsibility and to try to build a path towards peace”, declared Mr. Macron in front of the community of his fellow citizens, whose “remarkable courage” he praised after the long restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, lifted only at the end of the year.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, never formally condemned by Beijing, is at the top of the issues he intends to address Thursday during an intense series of discussions with Xi Jinping.

“This war, which 'on several occasions I described as imperialist, as colonial, has indeed come to trample on many of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which the two members of the Security Council that we are must resolutely defend, “said he said about France and China.

“I believe that defending them is also about walking together and trying to find a path of peace,” added President Macron.< /p>

Not to “separate” from China

The French head of state, who had not returned to China since 2019 due to the health crisis, wanted to distance itself from an approach tinged with confrontation adopted in recent years by the United States with regard to its Asian rival. And a form of fatality.

“Increasingly, we are hearing voices of strong concern about the future of relations between the West and China. And somehow conclude in a form of irresistible spiral of growing tensions, “he lamented.

“I do not want to believe in this scenario”, he immediately hammered.

To show Europe's unity on this position of “commitment”, he asked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to accompany him on Thursday for one of his talks with Xi Jinping.

Surrounded by an imposing assembly of more than 50 French business leaders, including those of Airbus, EDF and Veolia, Mr. Macron considered that France and the European Union should not “separate” from China on economic plan, but maintain a “realistic and ambitious path”.

“We must not disassociate ourselves, separate ourselves from China” but “commit with voluntarism to continue to have a commercial relationship “, he pleaded, assuring that “several important contracts will be signed” on Thursday.

“Not to negotiate peace”

After the remoteness due to the pandemic, Paris is therefore betting on “reconnection” at all levels with this three-day state visit, which will take it to Canton (South) on Friday.

In the evening, Emmanuel Macron insisted on cultural ties by inaugurating the Franco-Chinese festival “Croisements”. He is accompanied by director Jean-Jacques Annaud, musician Jean-Michel Jarre and, on the Chinese side, by actress Gong Li and painter Yan Pei-ming.

Until recently, France did not hide its hope to see the Chinese president play the mediator between Ukraine and Russia and use his influence with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to convince him to resolve to peace negotiations.< /p>

Since then, events have disappointed those expectations: Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have renewed their alliance in the guise of an anti-Western front. Several capitals, starting with Washington, fear that China will end up supplying arms to Russia.

In response to questions from reporters, Mr Macron warned that “anyone assisting the aggressor would put themselves in the position of being complicit in a breach of international law”. “It's not China's interest,” he stressed.

However, he clarified that he would not brandish the threat of sanctions against Xi Jinping on Thursday, because “it is never a good way to engage than to threaten”. And also admitted not having “read in the Chinese declarations, nor even at the end of the summit held in Moscow, any stated desire to deliver arms to Russia”.

Lucid, he also admitted: “we are not going to negotiate peace during this trip […] the conditions are not met”.

He could still encourage his Chinese counterpart to finally call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I think it's a good thing to talk to the president of Ukraine in context,” noted the French president.

Before taking off for Beijing on Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron spoke with phone with his American counterpart Joe Biden, referring to a “shared desire to engage China to accelerate the end of the war in Ukraine and participate in the construction of a lasting peace in the region”, according to the French presidency.


The French delegation has promised to raise the issue of human rights, particularly in the Xinjiang region, which according to several observers is plagued by severe repression against Uyghur Muslims.