Macron will visit China in April and appreciates his peace proposal: “We want him to help put pressure on Russia”

French President Macron addresses EU parliament in Strasbourg
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the European Parliament at the start of France's presidency of the Council of the European Union, during a plenary session in Strasbourg, France, January 19, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

One day after China called for a “political” solution to the war in Ukraine and opted to negotiate towards a close peace, the President of the Government of France, Emmanuel Macron, declared this Saturday that he will visit the Asian country “at the beginning of April”.

Macron has asked Beijing, which is also in talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, to help in this peaceful outcome. “We want you to  help us put pressure on Russia, of course, so that it never uses chemical products or nuclear weapons,” he said during a visit to an International Agriculture Fair in Paris, “and to stop this aggression before a negotiation.”

“The fact that China is making efforts to achieve peace is quite good,” the French president assessed, just as his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelensky, had done a few hours earlier. Peace, Macron clarified, “is only possible if it involves the cessation of Russian aggression, the withdrawal of troops and respect for territorial sovereignty and the Ukrainian people.”

China has been in the shadow of the conflict for months. And for a few days, he has risen as a mediator in the conflict. Geographically and politically linked to Russia, this country has repeatedly stated that it advocates an early end to the conflict. A few days ago, he repeated this belief at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. And on February 22, his foreign minister, Wang Yi, met Putin in Moscow.

A peace proposal emerged from that meeting that revolved around 12 proposals, among which was a ceasefire by both parties and respect for the national sovereignty of those involved. Those proposals were taken with caution in NATO and the European Union. Both the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the secretary general of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, argued that Beijing “does not have much credibility” because it has never condemned the Kremlin’s war of aggression and has also taken sides with the sign an “unlimited friendship” agreement with Vladimir Putin days before the outbreak of the conflict.

Stoltenberg, in fact, went a step further and assured that while Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, makes these statements, he is preparing to send military aid to Russia for the first time since the start of the war. A movement that according to the NATO secretary general would be “a big mistake”. Joe Biden, the president of the United States, was also not very optimistic, saying in an  ABCNews interview on Friday that he saw nothing in China’s plan “that could benefit anyone but Russia.”

And in Spain, Defense Minister Margarita Robles asked China to make the peace proposals credible and criticized the fact that Beijing, a year after the start of the invasion, has still not condemned the Russian invasion . “It’s all very well for China or any other country to make proposals, but those proposals have to be credible and, as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rightly said, so far China has not clearly condemned the Russian invasion. peace have to be accepted by Ukraine, which is the country that is being attacked”, he evaluated in a chat with RNE.