Vladimir Putin meets China’s Xi Jinping as Ukraine looms large

Copyright: Getty Images

Image caption: In France, Xi came under pressure from European leaders to use his influence on Putin to end the war in Ukraine

arrives in China just over a week after Xi Jinping visited France, Serbia, and
Hungary – a trip that exposed fault lines in European unity, according to some

“Xi’s goal
is to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe and to show that there
are limits to trans-Atlantic unity on China,” wrote Tara Varma, a visiting
fellow at The Brookings Institution.

In France,
Xi came under pressure from European leaders to use his influence on Putin to
end the war in Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron and European
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also repeated calls for more balanced
trade with Beijing.

But Xi
offered few concessions. He denied that China has an overcapacity problem. On
Ukraine, he stressed that China was “not at the origin of this crisis, nor a
party to it, nor a participant”. There was no signal that he would ask Moscow
to stop the war.

Xi received
red-carpeted welcomes in Serbia and Hungary, where he pledged to deepen
political and economic ties. Researchers from the Italian Institute for
International Political Studies (ISPI) described them as “a careful display of
brotherhood towards China by two of the most pro-China European countries”.

despite the charm offensive, Xi seemed “more determined to exploit the EU’s
differing views on how to deal with China than to find common ground,” the ISPI
researchers wrote.

Copyright: Getty Images

Image caption: In Hungary, supporters of China held Chinese flags and lined the route of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s motorcade


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