China’s President Xi Endorses Macron’s Call for Global Olympic Truce

Photo Credit: Xinhuathai

China’s President Xi Jinping has expressed support for a worldwide ceasefire during the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris this summer in response to appeals from French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to leverage his influence on Russia to halt the conflict in Ukraine.

During Xi’s first visit to Europe in five years, discussions were held with Macron and von der Leyen in Paris to present a unified stance on various issues, including trade and the Ukraine conflict.

The strengthening trade and military collaboration between China and Russia, in reaction to sanctions from the U.S. and its allies against both nations, particularly following the 2022 Ukrainian invasion by Moscow, has raised concerns.

Trade between China and Russia reached a peak of $240.1 billion in 2023, surging by 26.3% compared to the previous year, as indicated by Chinese customs data. Chinese exports to Russia spiked by 46.9% in 2023, while imports from Russia increased by 13%.

Xi, speaking alongside Macron and advocating for an “Olympic truce,” highlighted the turbulence in the world today and emphasized the need for peace during the Paris Olympic Games.

This truce tradition, aimed at suspending armed conflicts, is long-standing, with Macron aiming to achieve it as Paris hosts the Summer Games from July 26 to Aug 11 and the Paralympic Games until the end of August.

French officials are optimistic that Xi’s support could potentially influence Russia to agree to a truce when President Vladimir Putin visits China later in the month, with hopes that a ceasefire could pave the way for broader diplomatic efforts.

Macron stressed the importance of assessing prospects for peace during Putin’s visit to China, urging for international efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine.

Xi appeared receptive to an international peace conference endorsed by Russia and Ukraine, while exhibiting reservations towards a Swiss-organized peace conference on June 16, which excluded Moscow.

Both Macron and von der Leyen reiterated their commitment to supporting Ukraine and urged China to utilize its influence to end Russia’s aggressive actions. Western concerns also extend to possible military support from Beijing to Moscow, potentially circumventing existing sanctions on dual-use materials.

Xi’s assurances on the matter were met with appreciation from Macron, who underscored the determination of Western powers to continue supporting Ukraine and emphasized the enduring nature of the conflict.

Efforts have been ongoing to dissuade China from providing military aid to Russia, with Xi clarifying that Beijing is not intending to supply weapons to Moscow and is willing to address concerns related to dual-use materials.

Meanwhile, the European Union is deliberating potential sanctions against certain Chinese companies following these developments, keen to ensure that commitments translate into tangible actions.