France’s Macron says will visit China in April

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said he would visit China in early April and called on Beijing to “help us pressure Russia” to end the war in Ukraine.

Speaking a day after China called for urgent peace talks as it released its plan to end the war in Ukraine, Macron said peace was only possible if “the Russian aggression was halted, troops withdrawn and territorial sovereignty of Ukraine and its people was respected.”

“The fact that China is engaging in peace efforts is a good thing,” the French leader said, asking Beijing “not to supply any arms to Russia.”

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He also sought Beijing’s help to “exert pressure on Russia to ensure it never uses chemical or nuclear weapons and it stops this aggression prior to negotiations.”

China’s 12-point paper calling for a “political settlement” of the crisis follows accusations from the West that China is considering arming Russia, a claim Beijing has dismissed as false.

Timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the paper urges all parties to “support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible.”

It also makes clear its opposition to not only the use of nuclear weapons, but the threat of deploying them, after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to use Moscow’s atomic arsenal in the conflict.

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