Macron says China’s ability to pressure Russia is “extremely useful”.

According to French President Emmanuel Macron, China’s ability to pressure Russia is proving “extremely useful” as the international community steps up efforts to end the war in Ukraine.

Macron met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, where he helped broker a joint statement condemning the war in Ukraine.

Xi has refused to blame Moscow directly for the war and its aftermath, and accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s argument that NATO’s eastward expansion in recent decades has threatened Russia’s security.

However, his government has expressed concern about the Russian president’s threats to use nuclear weapons and never acknowledged Moscow’s annexation of various Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, in 2014.

“China plays an important role. . . Putting pressure on Russia,” Macron said in an interview with Nikkei and the Financial Times in Bangkok, where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Heads’ Summit.

Xi, he added, has the ability to tell Putin, “We work together, we respect each other, but you can’t cross the line on nuclear power.” [weapons] and you have to respect international law”.

“This reminder is extremely useful,” Macron said.

The ability of the G20 host, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Macron and other leaders to push through a statement condemning the Ukraine war and its global ramifications surprised many observers, who expected a persistent split would destroy what was seen as “the first global summit of The Second Cold War”.

“What we decided at the G20 with China, India and many others around the table was very important because we expressed that concern – it was a call for peace,” Macron said. “Russia has received a message from the international community, and China in particular, that peace must be restored.”

Putin’s last-minute decision not to attend the G20 summit came as a relief for Beijing, which used the event to try to strengthen ties with the US and other Western nations on Xi’s second trip abroad since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic stabilize central China almost three years ago.

The prospect that the war in Ukraine could trigger a wider conflict between Russia and NATO was dramatically illustrated on the opening day of the G20 when a missile hit a village in Poland, killing two people. Ukrainian and Western military officials are at odds over whether the missile was launched by Russian or Ukrainian forces.

Macron called for an end to the sparring pending the outcome of an investigation by Poland, a NATO member.

“We should not have an open and public confrontation about what exactly happened,” said the French President. “We have to help the Polish authorities to clarify this. . . What happened.”

Macron added that he was confident that meaningful peace talks could be held in Ukraine after the G20 summit.

“It is my hope that the Ukrainians will return to the table with the Russians, and the international community will sit at that table,” he said. Macron says China’s ability to pressure Russia is “extremely useful”.

Adam Bradshaw

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