French President Emmanuel Macron meets Xi Jinping in Beijing | World News - Hindustan Times
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French President Emmanuel Macron meets Xi Jinping in Beijing

AFP |
Apr 06, 2023 01:13 PM IST

Xi Jinping met his guest on a huge red carpet bedecked by Chinese and French flags as the countries' national anthems played.

President Emmanuel Macron met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday, as the French leader seeks to dissuade China from supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, April 6, 2023.(Reuters)
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, April 6, 2023.(Reuters)

Macron had said in a speech in the capital that Beijing can play a "major role" in finding a path to peace in the conflict and welcomed China's "willingness to commit to a resolution".

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Also Read | On call, Joe Biden and France's Macron talk on China's role in Ukraine peace

The French president, who arrived on Wednesday for a three-day state visit, shook hands with Xi outside the Great Hall of the People, the heart of power in the capital.

Xi greeted his guest on a huge red carpet lined by Chinese and French flags as the countries' national anthems played, an AFP journalist said.

Western pressure is mounting on China to help push for peace in Ukraine.

Also Read | Zelensky ‘ready’ to meet Xi Jinping, invites Chinese leader to visit Ukraine

Though Beijing is officially neutral, Xi has never condemned the Russian invasion.

While he recently went to Moscow to reaffirm his alliance with Putin -- framed as an anti-Western front -- Xi has not even spoken on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Macron, who is accompanied on his visit by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, said he wants to "be a voice that unites Europe" over Ukraine, and that coming to China with her serves to "underline the consistency of this approach".

In a Thursday morning meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People, Macron stressed the importance of dialogue between China and France "in these troubled times".

"The ability to share a common analysis and build a common path is essential," he said.

After Macron's talks with Xi, the pair will give statements to the press, followed by a three-way meeting with von der Leyen and, finally, a state dinner.

- Taiwan tensions -

The visit comes in the face of mounting Chinese pressure on Taiwan, with the island's President Tsai Ing-wen meeting in California with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Macron told journalists Wednesday he did not think his Chinese counterparts had "a desire to overreact" to the meeting.

Tsai hailed the talks, saying they showed the self-ruled island was "not isolated" on the international stage.

Beijing balks at any official contact between Taipei and the rest of the world, insisting there is only "one China".

China had repeatedly warned both sides the meeting should not take place and deployed an aircraft carrier through waters near Taiwan hours before the talks went ahead.

Three additional warships were detected in waters separating the island from mainland China, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence said on Thursday.

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