Tag-team diplomacy: Macron and von der Leyen conclude second day of China summit

The situation in Ukraine was a key topic of discussion as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen met Chinese President, Xi Jinping. Photo credit: Ursula von der Leyen (via Twitter)

THE French President, Emmanuel Macron, arrived in Beijing alongside the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen for a highly anticipated meeting with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping on Wednesday, April 5. The pair had a series of political and business engagements planned in the Asian nation.

The three leaders held a summit the following day to discuss a range of issues including the war in Ukraine with the European leaders pressing Xi to take further steps to halt the Ukraine war. The pair took a ‘tag team’ approach, with Macron playing ‘good cop’ and von der Leyen playing ‘bad cop’, as they encouraged Xi to exert influence over his ally, Putin.

The leaders’ show of unity is an attempt to prevent Chinese exploiting differences within Europe. Their joint arrival is also part of a push from European leaders to engage with China, despite the increasingly fraught trade relationship between the European Union and China, its biggest trading partner.

Their trip coincided with a business conference held in Beijing which was attended by a whole host of European business leaders including from L’Oreal, Club Med and Michelin with burgeoning interests in the Chinese market.