The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyenwarned this Thursday that China’s stance on the Ukraine war will be a “determining factor” for the future of its relationship with the European Union (EU).
“We must be frank. The how China continues to interact with the war in [Vladimir] Putin will be a determining factor for the future of EU-China relations”, said Von der Leyen, who plans to travel to China next week together with French President Emmanuel Macron.
In his speech, he reviewed the history of relations with the Asian giant and analyzed the future of those contacts in light of the war in Ukraine.
Thus, he recalled that Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently paid a visit to Russia and was not explicit in his condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Far from being frustrated by the heinous and illegal invasion of Ukraine, President Xi maintains his ‘unlimited friendship’ with Putin’s RussiaVon der Leyen lamented.
As a permanent member of the Security Council [de la ONU], China has a responsibility to uphold the principles and values of the UN Charter. And he has a responsibility to play a constructive role in advancing a just peace,” she expressed.
Regarding the peace proposal launched by China for Ukraine, Von der Leyen pointed out that only Ukraine can define “the terms of a just peace, which requires the withdrawal of troops” from its territory.
“Any peace plan that actually consolidates Russian annexations [de territorios de Ucrania] It’s just not a viable plan,” he said.
However, Von der Leyen stressed that the EU cannot turn its back on an international player of the magnitude of China. He also held that it is “of vital importance” for the European Union to “ensure diplomatic stability” and maintain “an open line of communication with China.”
“Nothing is inevitable in geopolitics. China is a fascinating and complex mix of history, progress, and challenges. And it will define this century. But our story about how we engage with China is not yet fully written and it doesn’t have to be defensive,” Von der Leyen said in a speech at the European Policy Center.
The President of the European Commission thus outlined her vision of how the relationship between the EU and the Asian giant should be.
China recently issued a position paper in which it called for “a political solution” to the war, a proposal criticized by the West for putting “the aggressor and the victimized” on the same plane.
Last week, Xi discussed the policy proposal with Vladimir Putin at a summit in Moscow, where the Russian president said he was open to negotiations with Ukraine and praised the Chinese plan.
In its document, China, which opposes sanctions against Moscow, defends respect for the territorial integrity of countries, including Ukraine, and the “legitimate security concerns of all parties”, in reference to Russia.
Nevertheless, Despite Xi seeking to portray himself as a mediator, Beijing has not provided details about a possible call or meeting between the Chinese president and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelensky.
In addition, the West seeks to prevent China or its companies from giving military assistance to Russian forces, something that could turn the tide of the war in Ukraine.
(With information from AFP and EFE)
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