After talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping showed no signs of changing his stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine.
On the second day of Macron’s state visit to China, Xi reiterated his long-held position on Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, saying that “all sides” had “reasonable security concerns,” but offered no indication that he would use his influence to help end the conflict.
“China is ready to appeal to the international community to remain rational and calm,” the Chinese leader said at a press conference in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
Peace talks should resume as soon as possible, taking into account all parties’ reasonable security concerns and referencing the UN Charter… to seek a political solution and to construct a balanced, effective, and long-term European security framework,” he added, sitting beside him macron.
The French President arrived in China on Wednesday, hoping to persuade Beijing to use its clout with Russia to end the conflict and to press Beijing to condemn the Kremlin’s threat to station nuclear missiles in Belarus.
According to a French diplomat with knowledge of the talks, during his private meeting with Xi, Macron expressed Western concerns that Beijing would supply arms to China. But the French president didn’t seem to get very far.
“The President urged Xi not to make supplies for Russia to aid in his war against Ukraine. “Xi said this war was not his,” said the diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting.
The discussions, which an Elysée official described as “frank and constructive,” lasted an hour and a half.
The action then moved to a signing ceremony, where officials and business leaders signed several deals, including the sale of 160 Airbus planes. According to Elysée, the Chinese government has approved the purchase of 150 A320 Neo planes and ten A350s as part of a €36 billion deal announced by Airbus last year. The news contradicted earlier claims by an Elysée official that a new sale was being negotiated.
Throughout the duration of the contractsigning ceremony, all Chinese ministers and business leaders bowed deeply to Xi before signing the contracts with their French counterparts.Xi and Macron then stepped up for their joint appearance, billed as a “press conference with communist traits” — essentially meaning no press questions are allowed.
The contrasting styles of the two leaders were immediately apparent. Xi read his carefully written remarks while staring straight ahead before yielding to Macron. The French guide then spoke for about twice as long as his host – a protocol gaffe this was noticed by members of Xi’s Chinese entourage.