France’s Macron urges China’s Xi to bring Vladimir Putin ‘back to reason’ over Ukraine


French President Emmanuel Macron urged Xi Jinping to use his influence to help restore peace to Ukraine, saying the Chinese leader could bring all sides together to discuss a way to end the Russian invasion. 

“I know I can count on you to bring Russia back to reason and everybody to the negotiation table,” Macron told Xi during a meeting in Beijing on Thursday. 

Xi has sought to rally international support for a vague blueprint to bring peace to Ukraine following Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion last year. While the US and its allies have dismissed any cease-fire proposal that would allow Russia to keep territorial gains, some countries like France have welcomed China’s effort to find a diplomatic resolution. 

While Macron doesn’t expect China to drop its close partnership with Russia, he does see room for potentially significant moves from Beijing, according to a senior French official. Macron was also expected to warn Xi against supplying Russia with weapons.

Macron spoke with US President Joe Biden earlier this week about the China visit, and “they also reiterated their steadfast support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” according to a White House statement. 

China, whose diplomatic stance has boosted Putin’s effort to wage the war, is the only country that can be a game changer in the conflict given its influence on Moscow, according to the French official. Whatever China does from here could have a dramatic impact on the conflict.

The meeting has also provided Xi a chance to solidify ties with the French leader, particularly as China-US relations have been in a tailspin. 

Beijing is looking to prevent Europe from joining the US’s hawkish stance, particularly on measures like export controls of key technologies that would hurt growth in the world’s second-biggest economy.

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