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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been invited to join French President Emmanuel Macron to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Macron is scheduled to travel China in early April.

On Friday, Macron stated that he invited von der Leyen to accompany him on part of the trip in order to show a “unified front” to China.

Western leaders have been looking to place pressure on China, hoping Xi can persuade Russia to stop the Ukraine conflict.

Macron has urged Beijing to assist in persuading Moscow to stop its year-long invasion of Ukraine.

Despite strengthening ties with Moscow, Beijing has attempted to portray itself as a neutral party in the conflict.

On Wednesday, China announced that Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia was a “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace,” and again criticized Washington for providing military support to Ukraine.

The trip that ended Wednesday signalled no new progress in ending the bloody conflict between Russia and Ukraine while shoring up President Vladimir Putin’s standing amid growing efforts to isolate him and his government internationally.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated China’s claims that it remains neutral in the conflict and said it had “no selfish motives on the Ukraine issue, has not stood idly by … or taken the opportunity to profit itself.”

Wang said at a daily briefing: “What China has done boils down to one word, that is, to promote peace talks.”

Wang said at a daily briefing.

Wang also accused the U.S. of lacking impartiality and of “fanning the flames” of the conflict by providing defensive weapons to Ukraine to Washington’s own benefit.

The U.S., NATO and partner nations have openly supported Kyiv since the start of the conflict, and China is widely seen as providing economic backing for Putin’s regime while avoiding being directly involved.

Wang said: “President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia is a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace, which has aroused positive responses in the international community.”

He added China would “continue to play a constructive role in promoting a political settlement of the Ukrainian issue”.

Wang said at a daily briefing.

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