The two leaders were speaking at a meeting in Paris, where French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to take on the role of mediator between Russia and Ukraine. This marks a shift from France’s previous position that it would not be involved in peace negotiations until a ceasefire was declared. Macron said he hoped China could help support an end to the conflict by using its influence with Moscow, saying, “it is necessary for Russia and Ukraine to start a dialogue as soon as possible.”
He also highlighted the need for both sides to respect international law, particularly concerning Crimea. Xi Jinping responded positively, saying he shared Macron’s views on peacefully resolving the situation and his hope that direct talks between Kyiv and Moscow could occur soon. The Chinese President praised France’s efforts so far, saying, “France’s mediation brings us more hope.”
The French president said the world must not fall into “the trap of binary approaches” and urged global leaders to develop a “multi-polarity for peace” without blocking each other. He added that cooperation between China, Europe, and other nations would be key in solving poverty and climate change issues. Macron warned against “sclerotic” blocks or an attitude of containment towards Beijing, which he argued could lead to conflict.
Instead, he called for closer dialogue: “It is better to engage than disengage.” The French leader also underlined the need for Beijing to recognize its responsibilities on the international stage and abide by the rules of free trade – including respect for intellectual property rights.
The two leaders also discussed the ongoing US-China trade dispute, with Macron emphasizing the importance of open and balanced multilateralism to protect global stability. He urged China to take a “positive” stance to achieve a lasting resolution that would benefit both sides. Xi responded that any solution should be based on mutual respect and equality, avoiding unilateral action or protectionist measures. He also stated his commitment to economic globalization and fair international competition.
This call for closer cooperation comes when other countries, particularly the US, have recently adopted an increasingly hostile stance towards China. The Trump administration has launched a wide-ranging economic and diplomatic offensive against Beijing over trade issues, technology rivalry, and accusations of human rights violations. At the same time, Europe is looking to develop stronger ties with China as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Washington.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently met with Xi during his state visit to China earlier this year. The two leaders discussed various topics, including deepening trade links between their countries and ways to strengthen political dialogue on global issues such as climate change.
The French left has also questioned Macron’s decision to court the Chinese market. While they recognize China as an important economic partner, they are concerned about the lack of transparency and democratic accountability in many of its deals. Some have criticized Macron for not raising human rights issues during his visit or speaking out against some of China’s more draconian policies. However, despite these concerns, it seems unlikely that France will be turning away from its partnership with China anytime soon.