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Chinese President Xi Jinping on October 23, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in France this May, Politico reported on March 18. This would be the Chinese leader's first visit to Europe since the pandemic.

The high-level talks will reportedly coincide with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Paris and Beijing.

An anonymous source told Politico that the visit "will be less festive and more studious given the current economic and geopolitical stakes."

China has grown closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the last two years even as European leaders, including the French President, continue to publicly support Ukraine. President Xi has not condemned Russia's actions in Ukraine and has repeatedly abstained from voting on UN resolutions on the war.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Russia became China's largest oil supplier. China and Russia have also reportedly begun joint naval exercises with Iran in the Gulf of Oman.

Ukraine is keeping diplomatic channels with China open, even though Beijing has maintained close ties with Moscow during the war.

Since President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a 10-point peace plan in November 2022, there have been four advisory meetings on the level of national security advisers. China was present at only one of them.

Earlier this week, the Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland announced that Beijing is considering participating in the upcoming peace summit.

Switzerland agreed in January 2024 to host a global peace summit on the war in Ukraine. Over 160 countries, including China, will be invited to discuss Kyiv's peace formula and create a joint document on what needs to be done to restore the country’s sovereignty. The date for the summit has not yet been set.

Officials told Politico that China is trying to persuade European leaders to allow Russia to attend future peace talks, including the upcoming summit in Switzerland. Beijing said it would boycott peace talks that do not include Russia.

Russia, on the other hand, said it would not attend the Switzerland summit even if Russia were invited.

President Xi and Macron previously met in Beijing in April 2023. The French leader reportedly tried to urge President Xi to use his influence over Moscow to end the war.

Ukraine war latest: EU gives final approval of $5.5 billion in defense aid to Kyiv
Key developments on March 17-18: * EU gives final approval to $5.5 billion for military aid to Ukraine * Deputy minister: Russia fires 7 times more shells than Ukraine * US Senator Graham in Kyiv: ‘If you want aid to Ukraine, you’d better start talking to American taxpayers’ * Ukrainian governm…
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