The European Union summons China to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war. “China cannot close its eyes to Russia’s violations of international law in Ukraine,” said the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, after meetings by videoconference with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping. .
“This war is of no interest to anyone, least of all China,” said the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who described the meeting as “sober”. “Equidistance is not enough”, said Von der Leyen: “We have clearly expressed opposing views, it is not a European issue, it is a global issue. It is a war. They are opposing views, and we have had a frank and open conversation. But we expect China to take responsibility for it, there are only five members of the permanent Security Council, and it can influence Russia to withdraw. And at least if China doesn’t support sanctions, at least not hinder them. We have been very clear on this.”
China, however, does not seem to have given any clear response to the European requests. If anything, they agreed to “work together” to maintain world peace, says a Chinese spokesman. Mentioning COVID, global economic challenges and the “Ukrainian crisis,” Xi added: “As two great global forces, two great markets, two great civilizations, China and the EU should provide the world with stabilizing factors.”
“If you were to actively provide military support and weapons to Russia and help circumvent sanctions, you would no longer be neutral. And what we are looking for is assurances that China has no intention of supporting Russia in this war.” Thus, it is with this premise that the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and that of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, have faced the summit with China this Friday, held by videoconference. “And if I took one more step to help stop this conflict it would have a positive effect. It would certainly be well received by all Europeans. In fact, it would be welcomed by the whole world, ”explain diplomatic sources.
“And China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has the responsibility to defend the global order,” community sources explain.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said: “The international community, in particular China and the EU, have a mutual responsibility to use their joint influence and diplomacy to end Russia’s war in #Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis. associated”.
Diplomatic sources explain the context in which this summit has been reached: “Unfortunately over the last year we have had several problems: human rights, sanctions against members of the European Parliament and our diplomatic institutions, persistent trade barriers and action against Lithuania, affecting the way China is viewed in Europe and creating a difficult political environment. And, of course, the joint statement on February 4 between President Xi Jinping and President Putin, which has heightened concerns about China’s intentions regarding the Russian war, a direct threat to our security, a violation of the fundamental principles of European security”.
Diplomatic sources maintain that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “is a danger to the rules-based order, with its impact on the global economy, on food supplies. We are already seeing an impact on our trade in the exchanges that the EU and China have, which are six times larger than those that China has with Russia. And, of course, none of this can be in China’s interest.”
The discussion, the sources advanced, was going to focus on the crisis with Russia: “Not only if the Russian aggression is a violation of the UN Charter and fundamental principles that China also defends, such as territorial integrity, but also its economic ramifications. This also does not benefit China in terms of a flourishing global economy. Also, there is a very important milestone, the CPC Congress, at the end of this year. In this context, both presidents call on President Xi Jinping to exert influence on China to also try to end these hostilities.”
“It is no secret that China has been balancing to maintain a position that suits its own interests,” the diplomatic sources explain: “It is in our interest to make sure that that balancing position does not become one of open support beyond the statements that we have already seen.”
In this regard, the EU recalls that the volume of trade between China and Europe accounts for 13.7% of Chinese trade. The volume of trade with the United States represents 12.5%, in 2021 figures. However, China’s total trade with Russia is 2.4%. “Do you want to put this in danger? Do you want to jeopardize the stability and growth prospects of the global economy and your own country? We already have an impact of the war on the world economy”, say the diplomatic sources.
Human rights were also discussed in the conversation: “It would be unrealistic to try to cover up some of the differences we have. There are differences in the coercion and pressure that have been applied to Lithuania, and the challenge to the integrity of the single market. There are challenges that we have mentioned in Hong Kong. There are tensions in the South China Sea; there are human rights issues to which the European Union attaches great importance”.