The French president and Ms Von der Leyen arrived in Beijing on Wednesday and met Mr Xi on Thursday in what is seen as part of a broader effort from the European leaders to engage with China, even as Beijing continued to engage with Moscow and maintain its “neutral” stance.
“The Russian aggression in Ukraine has dealt a blow to [international] stability,” Mr Macron told Mr Xi. “I know I can count on you to bring back Russia to reason and everyone back to the negotiating table.
France said the discussions between the leaders were “frank and constructive”, while China described them as “friendly” and “in-depth”.
but did not expect a big shift in the Chinese position.
A diplomatic source said Mr Macron had urged Mr Xi not to provide weapons to Russia, and that Mr XI had replied that it was not his war.
China is eager to ensure Europe does not follow what it sees as US-led efforts to contain its rise.
China’s president expressed willingness to speak to Volodymyr Zelensky, Ursula von der Leyen said, if the “conditions and time are right”.