French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to use his influence to help stop Russia’s war in Ukraine. In a state visit to China, Macron accompanied by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, is also seeking to bolster trade ties. This visit is highly scrutinized after years of deteriorating relations between the West and China. Earlier on Thursday, Macron and von der Leyen had called for increased dialogue with Beijing.
Macron believes that China has a major role to play in ending the “inescapable spiral of mounting tensions” between the West and China stoked by the war. China has released a 12-point plan for peace in Ukraine, but Western nations have been generally dismissive of the proposals.
While in Beijing, Macron pushed back on the idea of decoupling from the Chinese economy, noting the strong business ties between France and China. He is traveling with a delegation comprising business leaders, artists, and museum officials, including top executives from plane manufacturer Airbus, luxury group LVMH, and nuclear energy producer EDF. The trip to Beijing, four years after Macron last paid a visit to Xi, takes place during strikes and unrest in France over unpopular reforms of the pension system.