War in Ukraine: Charles Michel calls on China to convince Russia to respect international law

European Council President Charles Michel on Saturday encouraged China to “use all means” to convince Russia to respect international law, a few days before the G20 summit dominated by the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.

“We encourage the Chinese authorities to use all means at their disposal to convince Russia to respect internationally recognized borders, to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty,” the leader told AFP.

Charles Michel spoke from Phnom Penh, where he met Saturday and Sunday leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), meeting at the summit.

He must then fly to the Indonesian island of Bali to attend the G20, alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping in particular.

“It is important at this brutal moment in human history that there is international cooperation and the G20 will be another opportunity to look each other in the eye,” he said.

“We stand including with countries that don’t have exactly the same political regimes, but at the very least believe that international law should be protected,” Michel said.

Relations between China and the European Union have deteriorated since the imposition of sanctions on both sides over allegations of human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, EU leaders have repeatedly called on Beijing to publicly condemn Russia’s actions, with no success so far.

The European Union considers China a “partner, economic competitor and systemic rival”, according to the formulation adopted in 2019.

Commercial ties remain strong between the two, like Germany, whose chancellor was the first G7 leader to visit China at the end of October since the start of the pandemic.