During their talks in Beijing, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to "work hard" on achieving a negotiated end to Russia's war against Ukraine, Reuters reported on April 6, citing a French diplomatic source.
The source did not specify whether China had changed its position on Russia's invasion but said the two sides had agreed on further negotiations.
Macron arrived in China on April 5 for a three-day visit, joined by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The European leaders have hoped to talk Xi out of supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine amid reports of Beijing considering sending lethal aid to Moscow. They also aimed to persuade Xi to use his influence on Putin to help peace efforts in Ukraine.
"The Russian aggression in Ukraine has dealt a blow to (international) stability," Macron told Xi in Beijing, according to Reuters." I know I can count on you to bring Russia back to its senses and everyone back to the negotiating table."
After the April 6 meeting with Macron, Xi reportedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to resume peace negotiations and find a political solution, echoing China's 12-point "peace plan" released on the first anniversary of the full-scale invasion.
According to von der Leyen, the Chinese leader also "reiterated his willingness to speak" with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, adding that the conversation could happen when "conditions and time are right."
Macron called the meeting "frank and constructive" and urged China not to supply anything that Russia can use in its war against Ukraine, Reuters wrote.
China's so-called peace plan was criticized by many of Ukraine's Western allies. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Feb. 25 that there was no clear demand for the full withdrawal of Russian troops and cautioned against "dictated peace Russian-style."
China has so far refused to condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Ukrainian territories, which is at odds with respect for international law and sovereignty outlined in the plan.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said he did not consider China's proposal a peace plan, adding that the document included respect for international law, which already made it possible to work with China. Zelensky repeatedly said he wanted to speak with China's Xi, inviting him to visit Ukraine days after the Chinese president traveled to Moscow for a meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.