French president Emmanuel Macron has landed in Beijing within the newest bid by a European chief to induce China’s Xi Jinping to wield his affect with Vladimir Putin to push for a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
On the eve of his three-day go to to China, the French president spoke together with his US counterpart Joe Biden and the pair “reiterated their steadfast assist for Ukraine within the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression”, in response to the White Home.
However Macron, who might be joined by European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen, is unlikely to persuade the Chinese language chief to drop his private backing of Putin or China’s financial assist of Russia, analysts stated.
Dexter Roberts, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington, stated the opportunity of any actual shift within the close to future in each how Xi views Putin and in how the Chinese language Communist occasion management views Russia was “principally zero”.
“Xi Jinping and different prime leaders genuinely really feel sympathy for Russia. They imagine Putin has his again pushed in opposition to the wall by Nato increasing,” Roberts stated. “They very a lot see a parallel . . . with the US presence within the Indo-Pacific.”
In an interview with the Monetary Instances this week, von der Leyen stated China was able to affect Russia over Ukraine “and subsequently [it has] a duty” to take action. She beforehand warned Beijing that its stance on the conflict could be a “figuring out issue” for the way forward for the EU-China relationship.
Xi final month travelled to Moscow in a transparent demonstration of his private ties with Russia’s president, whom he referred to as his “pricey pal”. Additionally in February, China launched a 12-point place paper on the conflict in Ukraine by which it sought to place itself as a non-aligned dealer within the battle.
However the doc principally reiterated Beijing’s earlier speaking factors and was dismissed by western officers for failing to dispel issues about Beijing’s touted “no-limits partnership” with Moscow.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of worldwide research at Ewha Womans College in Seoul, stated China’s management had performed little to have interaction with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy — who Xi has not referred to as — or contemplate Kyiv’s pursuits, regardless of Moscow “flagrantly violating its neighbour’s territorial integrity and the UN Constitution”.
“China is unlikely to converge with western positions on Ukraine throughout European leaders’ visits to Beijing,” Easley stated. “As an alternative, Xi might double-down on assist of Putin whereas attempting to look the affordable statesman in dialogue with all events.”
The journey follows visits to Beijing late final yr by Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, and European Council president Charles Michel, neither of whom was capable of obtain a substantive change in Chinese language coverage.
As an alternative, consultants famous, Beijing has sought to cleave particular person officers away from broader anti-China sentiment and an escalating push for financial decoupling.
“Chinese language actors will look to drive wedges between US allies, improve nationwide technological autonomy, strain susceptible overseas companies and win ever larger market share in growing international locations,” Easley stated.
In an olive department to France, China plans to signal co-operation agreements throughout aerospace, civil nuclear power, agriculture and provide chains throughout Macron’s go to.
Chinese language state media on Tuesday quoted Lu Shaye, Xi’s envoy in Paris, as acknowledging “setbacks and difficulties” in relations with France and Europe, for which he blamed the US for forcing international locations to “take sides”.
Regardless of the hardening attitudes in Europe, Lu stated: “There is no such thing as a basic battle of curiosity or contradiction between the 2 sides.”
Extra reporting by William Langley in Hong Kong