Macron, Von der Leyen to visit China to pressure Xi over Russia backing

Brussels, Mar 24 (EFE).- French president Emmanuel Macron and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will jointly travel to China next month in a bid to apply more pressure on Russia to end its military campaign in Ukraine.

The aim of the trip is “to try to bring China to our side to put pressure on Russia, so that it does not use chemical weapons and nuclear weapons obviously, but also to do everything to stop the conflict and return to the negotiating table,” Macron told a press conference after a two-day European Union summit in Brussels.

“We discussed the issue this morning with (German) Chancellor (Olaf) Scholz and we have a common perspective. We have a European position that has been defined for several months and which we maintain”, the French leader said.

European Council president Charles Michel, who visited Beijing on December 1, will not join the delegation.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who attended the EU summit as a guest, told European leaders that Xi had assured him that he has no intention of sending arms to Ukraine, EU sources said, the same message that Michel received during his visit to Beijing.

During their meeting in Brussels, Mr Guterres urged EU leaders to avoid “pushing China and Russia” on the same side and to avoid creating military alliances like during the Cold War.

According to European sources, the leaders see it as “positive” that China is getting involved in the situation and said they will continue to push for Beijing to engage in talks with Kyiv as well as Moscow.

A few days before Von der Leyen and Macron’s Beijing trip, the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will also travel to the Chinese capital. EFE


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