Macron sets Ukraine war as top priority as China’s Xi Jinping arrives in France

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron held talks with Chinese chief Xi Jinping on Monday that targeted on commerce disputes — together with lifting quick tariff threats on Cognac exports — and Ukraine-related diplomatic efforts.

Xi was in France for a two-day state go to to open his European tour.

Speaking alongside Xi after their assembly on the Elysee presidential palace, Macron mentioned that France hopes China’s affect on Moscow would assist to maneuver Russia towards ending the war in Ukraine.

“We welcome the Chinese authorities’ commitments to refrain from selling any weapons or aid” and to “strictly control” gross sales of merchandise and applied sciences that can be utilized for each civilian and navy functions, Macron mentioned.

China claims neutrality in the war.

“History has repeatedly proven that any conflict can ultimately be resolved only through negotiation,” Xi mentioned. “We call on all parties to restart contact and dialogue.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin not too long ago introduced plans to go to China this month.

Last yr, Macron appealed to Xi to “bring Russia to its senses,” however the name wasn’t adopted by any obvious motion by Beijing.

Both leaders additionally expressed their issues concerning the state of affairs in the Middle East, the place Macron mentioned France and China share the “same goals,” that’s “to achieve an immediate cease-fire to release hostages, protect the populations, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, encourage a regional deescalation and reopen a political perspective.”

Xi referred to as the Israel-Hamas war a “tragedy” that’s “a test of human conscience.”

“The international community must do something. We call for an immediate, comprehensive and sustainable cease-fire in Gaza,” he mentioned.

In addition, Xi expressed China’s willingness to work with France “to take the Paris Olympics as an opportunity to advocate a global cease-fire and cessation of war during the Games.”

Macron advocates for making the Paris Games “a diplomatic moment of peace” and respect the Olympic Truce.

Trade points additionally had been on the top of the agenda as Macron denounced the commerce practices of China as shoring up protections and subsidies.

Macron thanked Xi for his “openness about the provisional measures toward French Cognac.” The comment got here after China opened an anti-dumping investigation into Cognac and different European brandy earlier this yr.

A French top diplomat, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate delicate talks, mentioned that Xi agreed to not apply tariffs in the short-term pending additional investigation.

French items to the Chinese president on Monday included luxurious bottles of Cognac. Xi reciprocated with Chinese-language editions of “Madame Bovary” and different basic French novels.

France hopes to have the ability to proceed to export its merchandise, together with brandy and cosmetics, to the Chinese market.

Earlier, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen joined each leaders for a gathering meant to handle broader European Union issues.

The EU launched an investigation final yr into Chinese subsidies and will impose tariffs on electrical automobiles exported from China. The 27-member bloc final month opened one other inquiry into Chinese wind turbine makers.

“For trade to be fair, access to both markets needs to be reciprocal,” von der Leyen mentioned after the assembly. “Our market is and remains open to fair competition and to investments, but it is not good for Europe if it harms our security and makes us vulnerable.”

She mentioned that Europe “will not waver from making tough decisions needed to protect its economy and its security.”

The discussions had been anticipated to be carefully watched from Washington, a month earlier than U.S. President Joe Biden is predicted to pay his personal state go to to France.

Xi’s European journey, the primary in 5 years, seeks to rebuild relations at a time of world tensions. After France, he’ll head to Serbia and Hungary.

Xi’s go to marks the 60th anniversary of France-China diplomatic relations, and follows Macron’s journey to China in April 2023. Macron prompted controversy on that journey when he mentioned that France wouldn’t blindly comply with the U.S. in getting concerned in crises that aren’t its concern, apparently referring to China’s calls for for unification with Taiwan.

Several teams — together with International Campaign for Tibet and France’s Human Rights League — urged Macron to place human rights points on the coronary heart of his talks with Xi. Protesters demonstrated in Paris as Xi arrived on Sunday, calling for a free Tibet.

Amnesty International referred to as on Macron to demand the discharge of Uyghur economics professor Ilham Tohti, who was jailed in China for all times in 2014 on fees of selling separatism, and different imprisoned activists.

On Monday, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders staged a protest in entrance of the Arc de Triomphe monument to denounce Xi’s go to, calling the Chinese president “one of the greatest predators of press freedom.” The group says 119 journalists are imprisoned in the nation.

Macron mentioned in an interview printed Sunday that he would increase human rights issues. He didn’t point out the difficulty in his public feedback Monday.

The second day of the go to is supposed to be extra private. Macron has invited Xi to go to the Tourmalet Pass in the Pyrenees mountains, the place the French chief hung out as a baby to see his grandmother. The journey is supposed to be a reciprocal gesture after Xi took Macron final yr to the residence of the governor of Guangdong province, the place his father as soon as lived.


Barbara Surk in Nice, Angela Charlton in Paris and Fu Ting in Washington contributed to this story.

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