President Emmanuel Macron of France and Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, appealed on Thursday for a rapid return to peace talks to end the war in Ukraine, but Xi did not indicate whether he would use his close relationship with Moscow to push Russia to negotiate.
Greeted with great pomp at the flag-bedecked Great Hall of the People, Macron told Xi that he was counting on him “to bring Russia back to reason and everyone back to the negotiating table” on Ukraine.
Xi, addressing journalists later, went some way toward responding positively. He said that “together with France, we appeal for restraint and reason” in the conflict, adding that China was seeking “a quick return to peace negotiations in the quest for a political settlement, and the building of a European architecture that is balanced and lasting”.
The Chinese leader, flanked by Macron, said that China “appeals for the protection of civilians. Nuclear weapons must not be used, and nuclear war must be avoided”.
His statement, in its strong rejection of nuclear war and in its appeal that the civilians who have been frequent Russian targets not be attacked, marked some implicit distance from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
But it left unclear whether Xi might put any pressure on Putin to negotiate, as Macron requested.