Xi Jinping in France for Talks with Macron on Ukraine Conflict: What to Expect

Paris, France – Chinese President Xi Jinping has landed in France, beginning a significant state visit hosted by Emmanuel Macron. Macron is expected to use this opportunity to caution Xi against supporting Russia in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Xi’s arrival marks the commemoration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between France and China, marking his first trip to Europe since 2019.

The choice of France as the main European destination highlights the warm relationship between China and France, following Macron’s own state visit to China in April 2023. Xi, the leader of the one-party Communist state, was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Gabriel Attal upon arrival at the Paris Orly airport, accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan.

During his visit to France, Xi is scheduled to engage in talks with Macron and EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen before attending a state banquet hosted by the French president at the Elysee palace. Macron plans to take Xi to the Pyrenees mountains for more private discussions, away from the public eye.

In an opinion piece for Le Figaro, Xi expressed his desire to collaborate with the international community in finding a solution to the conflict triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He emphasized that China has no direct involvement in the conflict and hopes for a swift return to peace and stability in Europe.

Macron’s main objective during the talks is to caution Xi about the repercussions of supporting Russia, especially as Western officials are concerned about Chinese involvement in Russia’s military capabilities. Macron also stressed the importance of Europe defending its strategic interests in its economic ties with China, accusing Beijing of not adhering to international trade rules.

Human rights groups are urging Macron to address human rights issues with Xi, including the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority and the imprisonment of journalists. Despite protests in Paris against Xi’s leadership, analysts remain skeptical about Macron’s ability to influence Xi’s behavior significantly.

As Xi continues his tour with visits to Serbia and Hungary, countries perceived to be supportive of Moscow, Macron’s messages about Chinese support for Russia and market-distorting practices may not have a significant impact on Xi’s stance. Despite the red carpet welcome, Macron’s influence over the Chinese leader remains uncertain.