The EU distances itself from the hostility of the US, extends its hand to China and asks it to call Russia to order

The double visit to Beijing by the President of the European Community, Ursula von der Leyen, and the French Head of State, Emmanuel Macron, and their willingness to cooperate with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, show that something could change in the Community foreign strategy on China. The goal of this diplomatic offensive points to the reduction of the tension between Europe and Chinawhich fuel the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the rivalry between the Asian giant and the United States.

There is much at stake in the relations between both regional powers And, although Europe follows the course set by the US in the Asia Pacific region, the weight of the economy and multilateral trade is too great not to affect diplomacy between Beijing, Brussels and Paris.

for now, Von der Leyen has moderated aggressiveness in Beijing that he showed a few days ago against China and has shown interest in the Chinese peace plan for the war in Ukraine, especially with regard to his opposition to the use of nuclear weapons.

Von der Leyen has also asked Xi Jinping to listen to the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenskyas he did a few weeks in Moscow with the Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin.

For his part, Macron has given a vote of confidence to the proposal for Chinese mediation in Ukraine, although it has emphasized Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, violated by the Russian invasion. For this reason, the French president has asked Xi Jinping to convince Russia to find a political solution to the conflict.

“I know that I can counting on you to bring Russia back to reason and for everyone to return to the negotiating table,” Macron has indicated to Xi. The Chinese president has also defended the dialogue, but has acknowledged that the situation in Ukraine is “complex, changing” and “difficult to resolve.”

The EU gives a change of course on Chinese mediation

It is perceptible the change of direction that is taking place within the European Union After a few weeks ago, when China presented its twelve-point peace plan to stop the war in Ukraine, Brussels and the strongest EU countries only showed skepticism and even rejection of that Chinese road map. The Europeans did nothing but repeat the same criticisms launched from Washington, Beijing’s rival in the Asia Pacific region.

Just a week ago, Von der Leyen accused China of seeking an alternative world order with the aim of imposing its dominance, through “economic and commercial coercion” and disinformation. As the president of the European Commission said at the time, Xi Jinping claims that China is “the most powerful nation in the world”, something he does not like, of coursewho in Brussels prefer that it be the American cousin who occupies that place.

Von der Leyen pronounced those words in Brussels at the same time that the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, visited Beijing. Sánchez did what he could to save the face of the Union before China, after the jug of water thrown by German policy, with a call for dialogue, cooperation and commercial reciprocity between the two regions.

Now, in Beijing, the president of the European Commission has defended joint work with China to defuse the Ukrainian crisis: “There has to be a just peace and full respect for the Charter of the United Nations and international law. And both the European Union and China can contribute,” Von der Leyen said.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine seem willing to talk

However, the timid but novel European endorsement of the possible role that China could play in resolving the war in Ukraine can be in borage water if the two contenders in the conflict, Ukrainians and Russians, do not consider this Chinese intermediation.

Ukraine demands the total Russian withdrawal from its territory, something that the Kremlin is not willing to do, neither now nor sitting at a negotiating table. Nor does it seem likely that China, although it defends the sovereignty and integrity of countries in its peace proposal, is going to be very demanding of Russia in this regard.

Xi’s visit to Moscow last March sealed the “special” and “limitless” relationship between the two countries and, although China prefers for obvious economic reasons that the war ends as soon as possiblehis commitment to an early ceasefire -reiterated this Thursday before Macron- does not go through the total defeat of its Russian ally, as claimed by Ukraine, the US and NATO.

Russia hopes to consolidate its territorial gains ahead of an eventual negotiating table

Russia You have already said that, although you recognize the importance of China in bringing positions closer together, for the moment you do not need these services, because there is still war ahead precisely for consolidate their achievements in view of that eventual negotiating table in which Moscow, if anything, give in as it sees fit.

“China has a formidable and effective potential in terms of its mediation services,” The Kremlin spokesman stressed this Thursday, Dmitry Peskov. However, the situation in Ukraine is “complex” and “there is no prospect of a political solution. At the moment, we have no other solution than to continue with the special operation,” Peskov added.

For now, it would be important, as Macron and Von der Leyen have insisted in Beijing, for Xi Jinping to get in touch and talk with President Zelenski, who, since the Russian and Chinese leaders met in Moscow on March 21, Wait for that Chinese call.

The EU narrows the gap with China and NATO deepens it

Neither in NATO are they very much for the task of starting peace talks as soon as possible. On the eve of the visit of Macron and von der Leyen to Beijing, the headquarters of the Atlantic Alliance met the foreign ministers of the 31 to discuss, in due course, how to “counter all threats, including the increasing alignment of China with Russia”, as indicated by the general secretary of the military organization, Jens Stoltenberg.

At the conclusion of that meeting on Wednesday, Stoltenberg launched an aggressive tirade against Beijing, taking advantage of the presence at the meeting of diplomatic representatives from Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, China’s regional rivals.

Stoltenberg followed to the letter the US speech accusing China of preparing shipments of lethal weapons to Russia to be used in Ukraine, a point that the White House has not been able to demonstrate and that Beijing has denied. “Any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake with profound implications,” insisted the Norwegian politician.

Stoltenberg follows to the letter the US speech accusing China of preparing shipments of lethal weapons to Russia

remembered that China has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that every day was getting closer to Russia. The Chinese government, Stoltenberg asserted, “echoes Russian propaganda, supports the Russian economy and carries out joint naval and air military exercises.”

And he added that, although NATO does not see China as an “adversary”, the truth is that for the Alliance Headquarters in Brussels, Beijing’s “assertive” behavior challenges NATO’s values ​​and security interests.

Stoltenberg accused China of investing in the development of long-range nuclear missiles and of “crushing democratic rights on its own soil and in Hong Kong, persecuting minorities and using social media to monitor the population.”

The NATO Secretary General finally called for maintaining the unity of the Alliance “at a time when Beijing and Moscow were attacking the rules-based international order.”

US after NATO aggressiveness against China

The meetings between Emmanuel Macron and Ursula von der Leyen in Beijing, one day after Stoltenberg’s aggressive speech against China, and the support for dialogue with Beijing have shown the existence of deep differences in the foreign strategy between the two main institutions that group European countries. The EU is more plural, and in NATO the weight of the United States predominates over the European positions on security.

In this sense, China could be a point of greatest friction and even a break between the two ways of contemplating international geopoliticsthe American and the European.

If last June, at the Madrid summit, all the European NATO countries closed ranks around the US crusade against the new axis of evil led by Russia and sponsored by China, the situation is different after more than a year of war in Ukrainewith deep fissures due to the prolongation of the war and Washington’s attempts to turn a regional conflict into a global one.

Xin Jinping assures that “Europe must play an independent role in a multipolar world”

Xi Jinping has given a notice to sailors after his meeting with the two European leaders. Cooperation and good relations with Brussels are all very well, but they can only develop in a “multipolar world” in which “Europe must play an independent role.” Just the opposite idea of ​​American hegemonism reinforced by the armed wing of NATO.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang, with whom the French president and the head of the EC also met, has offered some hope. China’s partnership with the EU and France “is at a new starting point,” which requires mutual respect and win-win cooperation, according to Li.

But he has put forward one condition: China is confident that Europe will not back US-led efforts to contain its international rise.

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