Xi Jinping Did Not Change His Mind on Russian War Following Talks with Macron

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping showed no sign of changing his position on Russia's war in Ukraine after talks Thursday with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

As Politico writes, on the second day of Macron’s state visit to China, Xi took his long-standing line on Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine — saying that "all sides" have "reasonable security concerns" — and gave no hint he would use his influence to help end the conflict.

"China is willing to jointly appeal with France to the international community to remain rational and calm," was as far as the Chinese leader would go during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

"Peace talks should be resumed as soon as possible, taking into account the reasonable security concerns of all sides with reference to the U.N. Charter … seeking political resolution and constructing a balanced, effective and sustainable European security framework," he added, sitting next to Macron.

The French president arrived in China on Wednesday, hoping to push China to use its leverage with Russia to end the conflict and to get Beijing to speak out against the Kremlin’s threat to host nuclear missiles in Belarus.

Instead, Macron and Xi spent one and a half hours in bilateral talks that were described as "frank and constructive" by an Elysée Palace official, before signing several deals — including the sale of Airbus aircraft — and making pacts for cultural cooperation.

But in a protocol faux pas that was noted by members of Xi’s Chinese entourage, Macron spoke for roughly twice as long as his host during the press conference.

After reading his carefully scripted remarks while staring straight ahead, Xi at times looked impatient and annoyed as Macron continued speaking. Xi heaved a couple of deep sighs and appeared uncomfortable as Macron addressed him directly while apparently ad-libbing on the Ukraine war and their joint responsibility to uphold peace.

The tone of the exchange of views contrasted sharply with the ceremony of signing various commercial contracts.

Earlier, Macron called on the leader of China to influence Russia and help end the war in Ukraine (Ukr).

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