China’s top diplomat set out on a three-nation trip Tuesday to persuade European leaders that they can do business with Beijing, despite their partnership with Russia that has plunged Europe into war. Once arriving in Berlin, Foreign Minister Qin Gang was immediately confronted about the war in Ukraine. German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said Beijing could be doing much more to help bring the war to an end. However, Mr. Qin immediately defended his nation’s approach saying they would continue to seek a cease-fire and pledged it would never “add fuel to the fire.”
The Chinese foreign minister may find his next trip to France a little easier. France’s president has been eager to maintain both business and diplomatic ties with Beijing. He argued that Europe should be pursuing its own interests and not get caught up in a crisis that is not theirs. He went further to argue that Europe should not follow the United States in its rivalry with China due to the Taiwan conflict, as that is not a central issue for Europe. This was great to hear for the Chinese, given Beijing’s goal of trying to divide Europe from the United States. Caught between wanting to support Russia, woo Europe and stabilize relations with its most important rival, the United States, China has proposed a set of weak proposals for a possible peace between Russia and Ukraine. Some officials and analysts suggest that China may prove useful down the road in helping guarantee any cease-fire or settlement. Mr. Qin also traveled to Norway, where he emphasized Europe’s key economic ties to China.