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 along with his US counterpart Joe Biden and the pair “reiterated their steadfast assist for Ukraine within the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression”, in line with the White Home.
However Macron, who shall 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 mentioned.
Dexter Roberts, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington, mentioned the opportunity of any actual shift within the close to future in each how Xi views Putin and in how the Chinese language Communist get together management views Russia was “mainly zero”.
“Xi Jinping and different prime leaders genuinely really feel sympathy for Russia. They imagine Putin has his again pushed towards the wall by Nato increasing,” Roberts mentioned. “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 mentioned China was ready to affect Russia over Ukraine “and subsequently [it has] a accountability” to take action. She beforehand warned Beijing that its stance on the battle 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 “expensive buddy”. Additionally in February, China launched a 12-point place paper on the battle in Ukraine through 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, mentioned China’s management had carried out little to have interaction with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy — who Xi has not referred to as — or take into account 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 mentioned. “As a substitute, Xi might double-down on assist of Putin whereas making an attempt to seem the cheap 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 in a position to obtain a substantive change in Chinese language coverage.
As a substitute, 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 corporations and win ever larger market share in growing nations,” Easley mentioned.
In an olive department to France, China plans to signal co-operation agreements throughout aerospace, civil nuclear vitality, 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 nations to “take sides”.
Regardless of the hardening attitudes in Europe, Lu mentioned: “There isn’t a basic battle of curiosity or contradiction between the 2 sides.”
Further reporting by William Langley in Hong Kong