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France calls on China to pass “messages” to Russia

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourn&eac; Monday China à send "very clear messages "to Russia" on the war in Ukraine and defended the maintenance of strong economic relations with the Asian giant.

“We expect China to send very clear messages to Russia”, declared the minister, pleading for “a balance of power favorable to Ukraine” during a conference of press in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Because “obviously China plays a key role in independence, respect for international law including the sovereignty of Ukraine”, he said.

China, which presents itself as a neutral party but whose relationship with Russia has deepened since the start of the conflict, advocates a political settlement to end the fighting.

It is regularly called upon by Western countries to play a more active role in this conflict, using its influence over Moscow.

“This war concerns all of the international community”, Stéphane Séjourné told his Chinese counterpart on Monday, who did not specifically mention the conflict in Ukraine in his introductory speech at the start of the press conference.

– “Rebalancing” –

“We have one conviction, which is that there will be no lasting peace if it is not negotiated with the Ukrainians,” added the French minister. “There will be no security for Europeans if there is no peace in accordance with international law.”

“So this is a challenge essential for us, this is why France is determined to maintain a close dialogue with China”, underlined Mr. Séjourné, visiting the Chinese capital for a day.

The minister also mentioned the economic relationship: “It is not desirable to decouple from China”, that is to say to significantly reduce economic ties between the two countries, he said. – he affirmed.

In recent months, several political leaders in Europe and the United States have precisely mentioned this need to reduce their country's dependence on the Asian giant, this to which the Chinese government says it is strongly opposed.

France calls on China to pass “messages” to Russia

French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Séjourné, during a press conference on April 1, 2024 in Beijing © AFP – Pedro Pardo

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, however, pleaded on Monday for an “economic rebalancing”, because “our trade must also rest on a healthy and sustainable basis”.

Wang Yi said he “appreciates” that his counterpart rejects the idea of ​​decoupling.

“It is not possible to decouple from China, and decoupling from with China is the greatest risk,” he said.

“I believe it has been proven, and will be proven again, that the China is an opportunity and not a risk for Europe. The two parties are partners and not rivals,” said the head of Chinese diplomacy.

– Resumption of exchanges –

After his meeting with Wang Yi, the French minister was received at the People's Palace by Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang.

Speaking just before his meeting with the latter, he called on him to discuss “all of these global situations which are fracturing and dividing the world today. I am thinking of the situation in the Middle East but also in Ukraine “.

“Our two countries have a long history and a great civilization, especially a spirit of independence and autonomy,” praised Li Qiang. “This explains why China and France are naturally close.”

Mr. Séjourné's visit is part of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China, and in a context of resumption of face-to-face exchanges since the end of Covid.

France calls on China to pass “messages” to Russia

Exhibition “The Forbidden City and the Palace of Versailles”, in Beijing on April 1, 2024 © POOL – Jade GAO

This is the second time in less than six months that a French Minister of Foreign Affairs has visited China, following the visit last November of Mr. Séjourné's predecessor, Catherine Colonna.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited China in April 2023.

Monday afternoon, Stéphane Séjourné participated in the launch of the exhibition “Versailles and the Forbidden City”, at the Forbidden City in Beijing, where around sixty works of art and precious objects from the Château de Versailles.

“This is the first time” that works from the Palace of Versailles have traveled to the Forbidden City in this way, Marie-Laure explained to AFP de Rochebrune, general curator of the Palace of Versailles.

Vases, porcelain objects, paintings, fans… The pieces presented, sometimes gifts exchanged between the French kings and the Chinese emperors of the time. They show “the privileged relations between China and France which were forged in the second half of the 17th century and which lasted until the end of the 18th century”, underlined Ms. de Rochebrune.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116