France calls on China to send “very clear messages to Russia”

France calls on China to send very clear messages to

Visiting Beijing, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné called on China to “ play a key role in the independence, respect for international law including the sovereignty of Ukraine » and defended the maintenance of strong economic relations with the Asian giant.

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This is the second time in less than six months that a French foreign minister has visited Chinaafter the visit last November of Stéphane Séjourné’s predecessor, Catherine Colonna. His visit is part of the sixtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the France and China, and in a context of resumption of face-to-face exchanges since the end of Covid-19.

We expect China to send very clear messages to Russia “, declared the minister, pleading for “ a balance of power favorable to Ukraine » during a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Because ” obviously China plays a key role in the independence, respect for international law including the sovereignty of Ukraine “, he estimated.

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 the Western community to play a more active role in this conflict, using its influence over Moscow. “ This war concerns the entire international community », Launched Stéphane Séjourné on Monday to his Chinese counterpart, 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: 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. » « This is therefore an essential issue for us, which is why France is determined to maintain a close dialogue with China », Declared the French minister, visiting the Chinese capital for a day.

The minister also discussed the economic relationship between France and China: “ it is not desirable to decouple from China “, that is to say to significantly reduce economic ties between the two countries, he said. In recent months, several political leaders in Europe and the United States have spoken of this need to reduce their country’s dependence on the Asian giant, something the Chinese government says it is strongly opposed to.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, however, pleaded Monday for a “ economic rebalancing “, because ” our trade must also be based on a healthy and sustainable basis “. Wang Yi said “ appreciate » that his counterpart rejects the idea of ​​decoupling. “ It is not possible to decouple from China, and decoupling from China is the greatest risk “, did he declare. “ I believe that it has been proven, and will continue to be proven, that China is an opportunity and not a risk for Europe. Both parties are partners, not rivals “, he added.

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