Von der Leyen: Ukraine will be important topic of meetings in China
April 5, 2023

Von der Leyen: Ukraine will be important topic of meetings in China

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Twitter that she had a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ahead of her visit to China on 5-7 April.

“Ukraine will be an important topic of my meetings with President Xi and Premier Li,” wrote  von der Leyen. “The EU wants a just peace that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” 

In a speech delivered last week at the Mercator Institute for China Studies and the Centre for European Policy, von der Leyen said that EU-China relations have become more distant and complicated over the past few years, and that China’s very general strategic stance has been “deliberately hardening” for some time.

“There was a stark reminder of that last week in Moscow during President Xi’s state visit. Far from being put off by the atrocious and illegal invasion of Ukraine, President Xi is maintaining his ‘no-limits friendship’ with Putin. But there has been a change of dynamic in the relationship between China and Russia,” said von der Leyen. “It is clear from this visit that China sees Putin’s weakness as a way to increase its leverage over Russia. And it is clear that the power balance in that relationship – which for most of the last century favoured Russia – has now reversed.”

She added that the “most telling” were President Xi’s parting words to Putin on the steps outside the Kremlin when he said: “Right now, there are changes, the likes of which we have not seen for 100 years. And we are the ones driving these changes together.” 

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Von der Leyen’s tweet


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