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Macron wants China’s help in brokering peace in Ukraine – Bloomberg

The French President has reportedly ordered his foreign policy adviser to work with Beijing’s top diplomat to establish a framework for negotiations

French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to leverage China’s help with a peace plan he believes could resolve the conflict in Ukraine and bring Moscow and Kiev to the negotiating table as early as this summer, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Citing anonymous sources familiar with the French plan, the outlet said Macron has tasked his foreign policy adviser Emmanuel Bonne to work with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi to establish a framework that could be used as a basis for future negotiations.

According to the outlet, it is unknown if Macron’s plan has received any support from Kiev or its allies, who have repeatedly dismissed any cease-fires or peace negotiations so long as Russian troops remain in territories Ukraine claims as its own. President Vladimir Zelensky has signed a law that makes it illegal to negotiate with Moscow so long as Russian President Vladimir Putin remains in office.

Macron’s office has confirmed that Bonne is expected to speak to Wang, who heads up foreign affairs for the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee, but has declined to provide any details on the planned talks. China’s Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of the French peace plan disclosed by Bloomberg, while Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has told journalists that Moscow does not possess any information on Macron’s initiative.

The news comes shortly after Macron’s recent trip to Beijing, where he urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to “bring Russia to its senses and everyone to the negotiating table.” Prior to the meeting, Macron also warned that “anyone helping the aggressor would be an accomplice in breach of international law.” 

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French President Emmanuel Macron prepares to shake hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People on April 6, 2023 in Beijing, China.
Macron failed to change Xi’s mind – Politico

Media reports have suggested that Macron’s attempts to pressure Xi to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine were ultimately unsuccessful.

Following their talk at the Great Hall of the People, the Chinese leader reiterated that China continues to call for peace negotiations and urged respect for the “reasonable security concerns” of both Russia and Ukraine.

During their meeting, Macron spoke almost twice as long as Xi, and veered into demands that China condemn “the war waged by Russia against Ukraine.” According to Politico, Xi “looked impatient and annoyed” as Macron spoke, and “heaved several deep sighs” when Ukraine came up.

The Chinese government has criticized Russia sending troops into Ukraine, but has agreed with the argument that NATO expansion in Europe and a refusal to respect Russian red lines lay at the heart of the confrontation. Beijing has repeatedly called on Moscow and Kiev to enter peace negotiations as soon as possible.

April 18, 2023 at 04:56PM

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