Emmanuel Macron’s trip to Beijing has been branded a “fool’s errand.”
The French president enjoyed “all the trappings of a state visit” as he tried to persuade China’s “Chairman of Everything” Xi Jinping to rein in “best friend” Vladimir Putin and end Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Macron took time out from the political turmoil back home to gush “I know I can count on you to bring Russia to its senses” to an impassive Xi.
Strikes and violent protests have rocked France over retirement reform. The fallout has left Macron’s approval rating at its lowest level in four years.
A diplomatic breakthrough to end Putin’s War in Ukraine would change the news circle in Paris. But that is unlikely to happen.
“Macron’s China trip is a fool’s errand,” Foreign Policy reported in its latest newsletter.
“Feeling the heat at home, the French president heads to China to ink some lucrative deals and pay lip service to Xi’s pledges of peace,” FP stated.
Delve deeper: Macron was joined by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for trilateral talks with Xi. She was representing the interests of the European Union.
Between the lines: “Macron is free to give it a shot, but I don’t see China brokering a peace deal, much less an acceptable one,” Mareike Ohlberg, of the German Marshall Fund, told Deutsche Welle, the media network.
Trade trumps a truce: “Three-quarters of [Macron’s] delegation are business leaders: the goal is first and foremost to sign contracts,” Raphael Glucksmann, a left-wing member of the European Parliament, wrote on Twitter.
Big picture: “At a time the debate in Europe focuses on our suicidal dependency on China and Chinese interference, the message is inopportune,” he added before Macron agreed to energy and aviation deals with Xi.
China Factor comment: Last week, EU heavyweight von der Leyen launched a scathing speech against Xi’s “no limits” support for big buddy Putin. In Beijing, she warned China’s president not to provide arms to Russia as it would “significantly harm” Sino-EU relations. Wreck them, more likely.