In an attempt to work on a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron is in Beijing this week urging Chinese leader Xi Jinping to “bring Russia to its senses” regarding the war in Ukraine. Xi has become a bit of a global mediator in recent weeks after successfully brokering a rapprochement between former Arab rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Macron is also attempting to persuade Beijing to refrain from sending any support to Moscow, whether it be military, economic, or political. “I know I can count on you to bring Russia to its senses and everyone to the negotiating table,” Macron told Xi in a bilateral meeting that was part of the President’s 3-day visit.
A joint statement that was released following the meeting noted calls for peace “as soon as possible” from each leader, with both reaffirming their opposition to the threat or use of nuclear weapons.
Xi commented later during a press conference and said that “together with France, we appeal for restraint and reason” regarding the war, and added that China was seeking “a quick return to peace negotiations in the quest for a political settlement, and the building a European architecture that is balanced and lasting.”
Xi added, with Macron’s support, that China “appeals for the protection of civilians. Nuclear weapons must not be used, and nuclear war must be avoided.”
Despite Xi’s comments, one must remember that he just had a very ‘friendly’ state visit with Putin in Moscow last month. As part of that trip, Xi presented Putin with China’s 12-point peace plan for the war in Ukraine, however, no breakthroughs resulted from the effort.
Meanwhile, Macron encouraged China to keep pressure on Russia in an effort to resolve the conflict.
According to Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, Xi “reiterated his willingness” to talk with Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky “when conditions and time are right” but she gave no timeline for then that conversation might take place.
Regardless of Macron and even Xi’s efforts to bring peace to Ukraine, the Kremlin has not been impressed with spokesperson Dmitry Peskov saying that Moscow sees no “prospect” for Beijing to mediate the conflict. Peskov added that Russia must continue with its planned offensive for now. “Undoubtedly, China has a very effective and commanding potential for mediation,” Peskov said. “But the situation with Ukraine is complex, so far there are no prospects for a political settlement,” he concluded.
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