Europe, Asia - Pacific, Russia-Ukraine War

Macron, Xi discuss Ukraine war in phone call

Talks also focus on thorny issues between 2 countries

Shweta Desai   | 11.05.2022
Macron, Xi discuss Ukraine war in phone call Credit:


French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the ongoing war in Ukraine with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and they agreed on the urgency of reaching a cease-fire, the Elysee said Tuesday. 

“I discussed the tragic situation faced by the Ukrainian people because of Russian aggression. We share the goals of a cease-fire and of respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Macron said on Twitter about the phone call, which also featured a discussion on providing humanitarian support to Ukrainians and the risk of a food crisis.

It marked the first phone call between the two leaders since Macron’s re-election.

A readout from China’s Foreign Ministry said both leaders agreed that Russia and Ukraine should restore peace through negotiations. It added that Xi also urged European countries to take European security “into their own hands” and not “endorse any bloc confrontation, which poses a bigger and more persistent threat to global security and stability,” alluding to the conflict between Russia and the US-led NATO alliance.

Besides Russia and Ukraine, Macron and Xi also spoke on contentious issues such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) convention, sanctions on Lithuania, and the COVID-19 situation.

According to the French statement, Macron insisted on a “rebalancing of the Euro-Chinese relationship” in the direction of greater reciprocity. Paris had reserved objections to the EU-China investment agreement last year over Beijing’s use of forced Uyghur labor and non-commitments over ILO treaties and demanded greater reciprocity for European companies in China’s economic market.

In April, China ratified two fundamental conventions of the ILO -- the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957. Macron said these treaties should now be fully implemented throughout China, especially in Xinjiang.

Macron also recalled France’s expectations that China will lift the sanctions it imposed on Lithuania for violating the “One China” policy. Beijing has recalled its envoy, suspended consular services and shut down the Lithuanian embassy in China and blocked Lithuanian exports as well as EU products containing Lithuanian parts and imports of Chinese raw materials to Lithuania.

Lastly, Macron raised concerns over the French community regarding the stringent lockdown measures due to the resurgence of COVID-19. He appealed to Xi to maintain air connectivity to France, authorize French nationals to travel to airports, and protect the interests of children by avoiding their separation from their parents. The Civil Aviation Administration of China suspended some Air France flights in April after certain passengers were found to have tested positive for COVID-19. In retaliation, France also canceled Chinese airlines' flights.

Chinese authorities also refused to allow the organization of polling for France’s recently concluded presidential elections, preventing French nationals from casting their votes in the two rounds.

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