Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday played host to his visiting Frech counterpart Emmanuel Macron but didn’t commit to any serious changes to China’s position on Russia’s conflict with Ukraine after talks Thursday with his French counterpart.
On the second day of Macron’s state visit, Xi stuck to his long-standing position that “all sides” to the conflict have “reasonable security concerns”.
During a press conference with the French leader at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi went only this far, saying “China is willing to jointly appeal with France to the international community to remain rational and calm”.
“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”.
Macro came visiting hoping to persuade Beijing to end her support for Moscow in the conflict. “Speaking about peace and stability means talking about the war waged by Russia against Ukraine. You’ve made some important comments,” the French leader said. “This is a war that involves all of us because a member of the Security Council has decided to violate the U.N. charter. We cannot accept that.”
He also raised Western concerns over Russia’s plans of hosting nuclear missiles in Belarus.
While Macro got no commitments from Xi over these matters, Elysée Palace official nonetheless described the meeting as “frank and constructive”.
Afterwards, the action moved to a signing ceremony, where officials and business leaders signed several deals, including the sale of 160 Airbus aircraft from France. According to the Elysée, the Chinese government approved the purchase of 150 A320 Neo planes and 10 A350s — a delivery that was part of a €36-billion deal Airbus announced last year.
Xi and Macron will still hold more talks on Friday during a private dinner in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
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