Xi Jinping criticises unnamed parties for using normal trade to tarnish China’s reputation, analysts suggest response to G7 leaders

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President Xi

25th June 2024 – (Beijing) China’s President Xi Jinping criticised the United States and some European countries on Monday, without naming them, for using normal trade with China and Russia as a pretext to shift blame and tarnish China’s reputation.

According to analysts, Xi’s recent remarks were a response to the warnings issued by the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) earlier this month, emphasising that Ukraine crisis should not be addressed in a Western-centric manner.

On Monday afternoon, Xi Jinping held talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda, who was on a five-day state visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, as reported by Xinhua News Agency. The discussion focused on exchanging views regarding the Ukraine crisis.

Xi Jinping reiterated China’s stance of advocating peace talks and a political resolution to the Ukraine crisis. He emphasized the need to avoid escalating conflicts, lower tensions, and create conditions for dialogue.

Additionally, Xi expressed China’s encouragement and support for all efforts conducive to a peaceful resolution of the crisis, as well as the promotion of a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security framework. China is willing to continue playing a constructive role in the political resolution of the Ukraine crisis in its own way.

The G7 leaders issued a joint statement on June 14 after their summit in Italy, which included stronger criticisms of China and a warning for Beijing to halt the shipment of weapons components to Russia.

Xi Jinping stated on Monday that China opposes the use of normal trade between China and Russia as a pretext to shift blame and tarnish China’s reputation.

Zhu Feng, Executive Dean of the School of International Relations at Nanjing University, commented in an interview with “Lianhe Zaobao” that this was the first time China’s top leadership had openly responded, albeit without direct naming, since the G7 leaders issued their joint statement.

Zhu Feng analysed that the G7 countries hope to further contain Russia through the Ukrainian battlefield and escalating military actions. Xi Jinping’s recent remarks serve as a reminder to the West that the security and development of the Ukrainian people and Russia are interconnected, and that the current Western approach is insufficient in resolving the Ukraine crisis.

According to Reuters, President Duda expressed his hope for China’s support in achieving peace in Ukraine based on international law during his visit to Beijing on Monday. In a meeting with Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, Duda expressed concern over Russia’s war in Ukraine and called for an end to the conflict through a fair and peaceful manner.

Poland is China’s largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe and one of the first countries to sign a government-to-government memorandum of understanding on jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative. However, the China-Poland relationship has cooled due to the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Political interactions between the two countries decreased significantly last year, with a noticeable decline in bilateral trade and economic relations.

Xi Jinping announced the implementation of a 15-day visa-free policy for Polish citizens, calling for high-quality cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, guaranteeing and promoting major projects such as the China-Europe freight trains, and strengthening cooperation in trade and agriculture, among other areas.

Prior to his visit to China, President Andrzej Duda expressed his hope for greater market access for Polish agricultural products in China. Xi Jinping, on Monday, welcomed more high-quality Polish food products into the Chinese market and supported the expansion of two-way investment.

During the meeting with President Duda, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang criticised the “overcapacity” argument as a smokescreen for protectionism, stating that it would ultimately disrupt the global industrial and supply chains and hinder the development and green transformation of the European Union’s industries. He urged the EU to uphold its commitment to supporting free trade and create a fair and non-discriminatory market environment for China-EU economic and trade cooperation.