Emmanuel Macron in China urges ‘shared responsibility for peace’

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French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to “engage China toward a shared responsibility for peace” in Ukraine when he meets Chinese leader Xi Jinping this week.

French officials said earlier that Mr Macron planned to urge Mr Xi in talks on Thursday to use Beijing’s influence with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but did not expect a big shift in the Chinese position.

Mr Macron is to be accompanied by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in a show of European unity in dealings with Beijing.

Mr Xi and Mr Putin declared their governments had a “no limits friendship” before Moscow’s February 2022 attack on Ukraine. Beijing has refused to criticise the Kremlin but has tried to appear neutral and has called for a cease-fire and peace talks.

Mr Macron expressed hope China will “participate in initiatives that are useful to the Ukrainian people”.

“Dialogue with China is indispensable,” Mr Macron said during the event at the French Embassy.

Mr Xi’s government sees Russia as a source of energy and as a partner in opposing what both say is US domination of global affairs.

China France
Emmanuel Macron, third left, attends a meeting with Zhao Leji, third right, the head of the National People’s Congress, at the Great Hall of the People (Thibault Camus, Pool/AP)

Mr Macron noted Mr Putin’s announcement that Moscow plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which China opposes.

“Territorial integrity, the sovereignty of nations is part” of the Charter of the United Nations, which China affirmed, Mr Macron said.

Defending those principles “means moving forward together and trying to find a path for peace,” Mr Macron said.

He noted China proposed a peace plan in February and that while France does not fully agree with it, the plan “shows a will to commit toward the resolution of the conflict”.

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