Ukraine war: China and France agree to continue political solution in top diplomats’ phone chat 2023

Top Chinese and French diplomats have signaled that they will continue to seek a political resolution to the Ukraine conflict, despite the fact that China’s recent peacemaking mission to Europe was largely unsuccessful.

According to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission, and Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron, “coordinated positions” on the Ukraine conflict over the phone on Monday.

The phone conversation occurred a few days after Li Hui, China’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs, concluded his tour of European capitals, including Paris, to promote peace negotiations. During a press briefing on Friday, he stated that Beijing was contemplating a second mission while recognizing the difficulty of peace negotiations.

As Li conferred with senior officials in Kiev, Moscow, Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels, he stated that there were still many unknowns but that Beijing was “willing to do anything conducive to easing tensions and advancing negotiations.”

Wang and Bonne promised to “consistently create conditions for the beginning of a political settlement.”

Before Macron’s April visit to China, he reportedly entrusted Bonne with establishing a framework for future negotiations with Wang, and the two had multiple conversations on the topic of Ukraine.

During the call on Monday, Wang, the top diplomat in the Chinese party system, “expressed appreciation” for Macron’s demonstration of diplomatic independence on international platforms and for Beijing and Europe’s increased engagement.

“As the two driving forces of a multipolar world, China and Europe have more common interests than differences and should focus more on cooperation than competition,” he said, adding that China and France should work toward a “comprehensive strategic partnership”.

In pursuit of a “partnership relationship,” France believed that Europe should maintain its unity and strategic independence, Bonne was quoted as saying, reiterating the French leader’s long-standing position.

France has been one of the principal European powers attempting to persuade China to use its influence over Russia to end the Ukraine conflict. Macron was accompanied on his April trip to China by the head of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in an effort to achieve this objective.

In recent months, China has increased its profile as a peace mediator in international crises while attempting to strengthen its ties with Europe. After Wang visited Europe in February and met with Macron to discuss the Ukraine conflict, China’s foreign minister Qin Gang traveled to Paris in May to advocate cooperation on “global challenges.”

As competition between China and the United States intensifies, Beijing applauds Macron’s call for “strategic autonomy” in Europe. During the visit of the French president to China, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized that China views Europe as “an independent pole in a multipolar world” and as being strategically independent from “any third party.”

Brussels has initiated a “de-risking” strategy against China; however, Beijing has issued a warning against it.

Thursday in Beijing, Wang met with German foreign and security policy adviser Jens Plotner to discuss the conflict in Ukraine.

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