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Von der Leyen Sets Clear Boundaries in China

Together with French President Macron, EU Commission President von der Leyen is traveling to China – the focus is on talks about the country’s mediating role in the Ukraine war and relations with the EU. Arriving in Beijing, however, both strike very different tones.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned China against arms deliveries to Russia. After talks with head of state and party leader Xi Jinping together with French President Emmanuel Macron, von der Leyen told the press in Beijing that she was counting on China not providing Russia with any military equipment “directly or indirectly”.

“Arming the aggressor would be against international law and it would severely damage our relations.” As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has a great responsibility. “We expect China to play its part and support a just peace – one that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, one of the cornerstones of the UN Charter.”

In their talks, she emphasized that she firmly supports the peace plan of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. China has a great responsibility to use its influence on Russia: “We are counting on China.” She called it a “positive sign” that Xi is ready to speak to Zelenskyy directly when the time is right.

Commission chief: China has changed

Von der Leyen traveled to Beijing with French President Emmanuel Macron. She first met Xi Jinping with Macron, followed by bilateral talks with the Chinese head of state. There are differences between Macron and von der Leyen in dealing with China. While Macron praised China’s position paper on the Ukraine conflict as an interesting “peace plan”, the EU Commission President dismissed it as “simply not a viable plan”.

The French President also wants to expand business with China – von der Leyen, on the other hand, warns of economic dependencies on China and wants to minimize the risks. In her talks with Xi, she criticized the “significant disadvantage” of many European companies in China. For example, manufacturers of medical technology see themselves confronted with a “discriminatory buy-in-China strategy”. Patent infringements are also still a massive problem in China, she emphasized. When it comes to climate protection or species protection, on the other hand, cooperation with Beijing is essential, emphasized von der Leyen. That’s why it’s not about decoupling from China, but about reducing risks.

China has changed, said the head of the commission. It had become “more repressive at home and more self-confident abroad”. “The goal of the Chinese Communist Party is systemic change in the world order with China at the center.” Von der Leyen also warned China of an attack on Taiwan. “No one should unilaterally change the status quo in this region through violence,” she said after the talks in Beijing. This would be “unacceptable”.

Source : N-TV

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