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Monday, February 26, 2024

Macron heads to China for delicate talks on Ukraine, commerce

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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron must muster all his diplomatic adeptness and political acumen on a three-day state go to to China the place the struggle in Ukraine shall be entrance and heart, together with powerful talks on commerce.

Macron is anticipated to warn China in opposition to sending weapons to Russia and as a substitute ask that the nation use its affect to assist peace efforts.

Beijing claims to carry a impartial stance within the struggle, however has additionally careworn its “no-limits friendship” with Russia. China’s President Xi Jinping final month met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

China has refused to criticize Russia for its actions in Ukraine. A high French official acknowledged that Paris isn’t anticipating to see a significant shift in that place.

However France will push for initiatives serving to atypical Ukrainians and for potential avenues towards reaching a midway answer to the struggle, the official stated, talking on situation of anonymity according to the French presidency’s customary practices.

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Paris and Beijing could discover a level of convergence following Putin’s latest announcement that his nation plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. China, with out naming Russia, made clear its opposition to the deliberate deployment.

Macron can even search to contain China deeper in world discussions on climate-related points, as issues are getting extra difficult for him at residence.

The 45-year-old chief has in latest weeks confronted robust opposition amongst atypical French residents and lawmakers to his plan to boost the authorized retirement age from 62 to 64. A surge of avenue protests resulted in a state go to by Britain’s King Charles III having to be postponed.

Whereas Macron is in Beijing, French commerce unions on Thursday will stage the eleventh spherical of nationwide demonstrations since January.

The go to additionally comes amid ever-rising tensions between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies.

Commerce can even be a significant focus as Macron has requested European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen to hitch him for a gathering with Xi that is meant to point out European unity particularly on financial points. The French president stated final month that he took such an initiative as a result of he’s “connected to European coordination.”

Final week, von der Leyen warned the European Union have to be ready to develop measures to guard commerce and funding that China may exploit for its personal safety and army functions.

China is each the EU’s business companion and a rival, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Inner Market, stated Monday on French information broadcaster FranceInfo. Breton stated the message to Chinese language authorities is that they “should cease making an attempt to play one nation in opposition to one other.”

“In fact, China nonetheless is a vital market for a lot of European corporations. However the (EU) inside market is an important market to China,” Breton added.

Macron shall be accompanied by a delegation of over 50 CEOs together with from French power large EDF, rail transport producer Alstom and European plane-maker Airbus.

The highest French official stated negotiations have been nonetheless being held on a possible cope with Airbus that may come on high of China’s 2019 order for 300 plane.

NGOs together with the Worldwide Federation for Human Rights, Worldwide Marketing campaign for Tibet and the Human Rights League have known as on Macron to place human rights on the coronary heart of his talks with Chinese language authorities.

Macron “should strongly denounce privately but in addition publicly the repression in opposition to Chinese language activists and human rights advocates, Hong Kong’s individuals, Uyghurs and Tibetans,” France’s Human Rights League President Patrick Baudouin stated in an announcement.

Macron’s workplace stated human rights points shall be talked about throughout the go to.

Macron, who final traveled to China in 2019 earlier than the COVID-19 disaster, is to begin his journey Wednesday in Beijing with a speech to the French neighborhood.

On Thursday, he may have conferences with the pinnacle of the Nationwide Folks’s Congress, Zhao Leji, and China’s new No. 2 chief, Premier Li Qiang, along with a gathering and a state dinner with Xi within the presence of von der Leyen.

On Friday, Macron will head to the southern Chinese language metropolis of Guangzhou, the place Xi’s father used to work as provincial governor within the Eighties.

The French president will reply questions there from among the 1,000 Chinese language college students at Solar Yat-Sen college. He’ll then meet Xi once more for a non-public dinner and later meet with Chinese language buyers.


AP journalist Nicolas Garriga contributed to the story.

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