French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping during a summit in Paris on Monday, May 6, to use China's influence to stop the Russian war against Ukraine.

Xi's two-day state visit to France marks his first visit to Europe since 2019. He is also scheduled to hold talks in Serbia and Hungary. However, analysts do not anticipate any major breakthrough on the issues of Ukraine or trade.

During an initial trilateral meeting attended by von der Leyen, Macron stressed the importance of coordination with Beijing on "major crises" like Ukraine, stressing the need for "fair rules for all" in Europe-China trade.

"The future of our continent will very clearly depend on our ability to continue to develop relations with China in a balanced manner," Macron said.


Xi, in response, stated that China and the EU should "remain partners" and "carry out strategic coordination" to "make new contributions to world peace and development".

Europe is concerned that despite China's official neutrality on the Ukraine war, it is essentially supporting Russia, which is using Chinese machine tools in arms production.

"More effort is needed to curtail the delivery of dual-use goods to Russia that find their way to the battlefield," von der Leyen said after the talks, adding that "this does affect EU-China relations".

She further emphasized that France and the EU "count on China to use all its influence on Russia to end Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine," noting that both Europe and China "have a shared interest in peace and security".

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Kyiv has been battling a Russian land assault on its northeastern Kharkiv region since May 10, when thousands of troops stormed the border, making their biggest territorial advances in 18 months.

After a bilateral meeting with Xi, Macron welcomed China's "commitments" not to supply arms to Russia, while also expressing concern over possible deliveries of dual-use technology.

He thanked Xi for supporting his proposal for a truce in all wars, including Ukraine, during the Paris Olympics this summer. Macron also stated that "we do not have an approach seeking regime change in Moscow".


Xi defended China's stance, warning against using the Ukraine war "to cast blame, smear a third country and incite a new Cold War."

Fair global trade rules

Both Macron and von der Leyen highlighted trade as a priority in the talks, underscoring that Europe must defend its "strategic interests" in its economic relations with China.

"Europe will not waver from making tough decisions needed to protect its economy and its security," von der Leyen said.

She pointed out that there were "imbalances that remain significant" and "a matter of great concern", singling out Chinese subsidies for electric cars and steel that were "flooding the European market".

During the talks, Xi denied any problem of Chinese overcapacity in global trade and suggested that China and Europe should address trade differences through "dialogue and consultation, and accommodate each other's legitimate concerns," according to the foreign ministry.

Tuesday will see Macron take Xi, who is accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, to the Pyrenees mountains to an area he used to visit as a boy for a day of less public talks.

However, analysts are skeptical that Macron will be able to exert much influence over the Chinese leader, even with the lavish red-carpet welcome and a trip to the bracing mountain air of the Col du Tourmalet over 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) above sea level on Tuesday.


The other two countries chosen by Xi for his European tour, Serbia and Hungary, are seen as among the most sympathetic to Moscow in Europe.

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