Macron asks Xi to 'bring Russia to its senses'
The visit of the French President alongside the EU chief comes after years of souring relations with China.
During French President Emmanuel Macron's three-day visit to Beijing on Wednesday, he called on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to urge Russia to end the war in Ukraine. The President arrived in Beijing along with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.
Macron raised the issue of the war in Ukraine during a meeting with Xi at the Great Hall of the People, in addition to the French companies' access to Chinese markets, according to a summary issued by the Elysee Palace.
According to Chinese media outlets, the French leader told Xi that he was counting on him to "bring Russia to its senses and everyone to the negotiating table."
"The Russian aggression in Ukraine has dealt a blow to (international) stability," Macron told Xi.
Both Macron and von der Leyen have formerly said they want to persuade Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to bring peace to Ukraine. He is also expected to announce negotiated deals with China as he is accompanied by a 50-strong business delegation, including representatives from LVMH, Airbus, and nuclear energy producer EDF.
Macron "is expected to produce concrete results in furthering economic and trade cooperation between China and France, as well as to increase political mutual trust," according to the Global Times. "It is worth noting that various forces in Europe and the US are paying close attention to Macron's visit and exerting influence in different directions," the Times wrote.
"In other words, not everyone wants to see Macron's visit to China go smoothly and successfully."
The visit of the French President alongside the EU chief comes after years of souring relations with China over issues involving a stalled investment pact, criticism of China's alleged transparency on COVID-19, and reluctance to condemn Russia in the Ukraine war.
China has adopted a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine while accusing the US and NATO of provoking Moscow, prolonging the war, and condemning Western sanctions against Russia.
Macron told the press, upon his arrival to Beijing, that Europe should resist reducing trade and diplomatic ties with China and reject what some have cast as an "inescapable spiral" of tensions between China and the West.