Paris expects China to send "absolutely clear messages" to its close partner Russia about its war in Ukraine. This was stated by French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourn after a meeting with his counterpart in Beijing, reports "France Presse".

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In recent years, France and China have sought to strengthen their ties. During meetings in Paris in February, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told President Emmanuel Macron that Beijing appreciated his country's "independent" stance.

However, Paris also tried to put pressure on Beijing over its close relationship with Moscow.

"We are convinced that there will be no lasting peace if it is not agreed with the Ukrainians," emphasized Sejourn at a press conference in Beijing together with his Chinese counterpart Wang.

"There will be no security for Europeans if there is no peace in accordance with international law," he continued.

In his words, China can play a "key role" in ensuring compliance with international law.

Séjourn's visit is the second by a French foreign minister to China in less than six months, following that of his predecessor Catherine Colonnade in November.

Macron also visited the Asian country in April last year.

However, he has been accused of pandering to Beijing and sparked controversy by saying that Europe should not be a "follower" of the United States in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan.

France's efforts to improve ties with Beijing come amid the European Union's attempts to protect itself from over-dependence on China.

In recent months, the so-called "risk reduction" has emerged as a key pillar of the EU's economic policy towards China, which has become necessary after the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The term contrasts with the more drastic approach known as "isolation," a goal of some politicians in the United States who seek to isolate China or cut off all trade ties with the country.

For its part, the EU increasingly views China as a "partner" but also as an "economic competitor and systemic rival," as a report by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China from last month makes clear.

And in Beijing, Séjourn said secession was unlikely.

However, he said an "economic rebalancing" was needed to ensure trade was "healthy and sustainable".

The Chinese foreign minister, in turn, indicated that he "appreciates" Sejourne's rejection of the secession option.

"Separation from China is not possible and is the biggest risk," Wang stressed.

"I believe that it has been proven that China is an opportunity and not a risk for Europe. The two countries are partners, not rivals," he said categorically.

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