Macron to warn China against military backing for Russia: Elysee

PARIS (AFP): French President Emmanuel Macron will next week warn Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that backing Russia militarily in its war on Ukraine would be disastrous, the French leader’s office said.

“If China took this disastrous decision, it would have a major strategic effect on the conflict,” an advisor to Macron, asking not to be named, told reporters ahead of the president’s visit to China next week.

“We want to avoid the worst and that is why we need to engage with them (the Chinese) and present our position,” said the official, adding that France wanted to identify “a medium-term path for an end to the conflict”.

This dialogue was all the more crucial since “China is the only country in the world capable of having an immediate and radical impact on the conflict, in one direction or the other”, added the official.

China has never publicly backed the invasion by Russia of Ukraine but has also never offered any criticism of Moscow.

Western powers fear Moscow is keen to encourage Chinese military cooperation to gain the upper hand in the conflict, although China has not made any such public offer to Moscow.

Macron’s visit to China, starting on Wednesday alongside European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, comes after Xi held talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month.

The French official described China as a “game-changer” in the conflict.