EU urges China to use influence on Russia and Iran

Ursula von der Leyen says EU counts on Xi Jinping to lean on Russia to end war in Ukraine, limit Iran’s missiles and drones.

French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accompany China's President Xi Jinping as he leaves after a trilateral meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris as part of the Chinese president's two-day state visit in France, May 6, 2024. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accompany Chinese President Xi Jinping as he leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, France [Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

The European Union hopes China will help persuade Russia to end its war in Ukraine and limit an Iranian weapons build-up.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen raised the scenario on Monday after talks in Paris with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which also included trade issues. The EU hopes Beijing will lean on its ally Russia and help stem Iran’s proliferation of missiles and drones, the head of the EU executive body said.

“We count on China to use all its influence on Russia to end Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” von der Leyen said after meeting with Xi alongside French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace.

“President Xi has played an important role in de-escalating Russia’s irresponsible nuclear threats, and I am confident that President Xi will continue to do so against the backdrop of ongoing nuclear threats by Russia,” she said.

The meeting in Paris took place on the same day the Kremlin announced Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered nuclear drills. The exercises were in response to statements by Western countries about sending troops into Ukraine, Moscow added. Macron said last week that his country would consider sending ground troops to Ukraine if Kyiv requests backup.

Von der Leyen added her hopes that China could “play an important role in limiting the irresponsible proliferation of Iranian ballistic missiles and drones”.

Trade talk

Von der Leyen and Macron also pressed China on the topic of trade. They pushed Xi to ensure more balanced relations with the world’s biggest trading bloc.

“The future of our continent will also very clearly depend on our capacity to further develop in a balanced way our relationship with China,” Macron said as the three leaders sat at a round table.

Xi was in Europe for the first time in five years at a time of growing business tensions that include the EU investigating Chinese industries such as electric vehicle while Beijing probes French-made brandy.

Von der Leyen was more blunt, saying the relationship was hurt by unequal market access and Chinese state subsidies.

After the meeting, she told reporters that the EU “cannot absorb massive overproduction of Chinese industrial goods flooding its market”.

“Europe will not waver from making tough decisions needed to protect its market,” she said.

In brief public comments before the talks, Xi said he viewed relations with Europe as a priority of China’s foreign policy and that both should stay committed to the partnership.

“As the world enters a new period of turbulence and change, as two important forces in this world, China and Europe should adhere to the positioning of partners, adhere to dialogue and cooperation,” Xi said.

Source: News Agencies