French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted Tuesday that he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for respecting Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty and stopping escalation of the war in Ukraine as they met in Indonesia's Bali.
In their first face-to-face meeting since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Xi said China "stands for cease-fire, cessation of the conflict and peace talks" and that the international community should create conditions for this to happen, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Xi also said Beijing will continue to play a constructive role in its own way on the Ukraine crisis in the talks held on the sidelines of the summit of the Group of 20 major economies on the resort island, according to the ministry.
China has refrained from condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and is not joining Western nations in imposing sanctions on Moscow.
But Xi and U.S. President Joe Biden affirmed in their talks Monday their objections to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, with Xi saying that Beijing is "highly concerned" about the current situation in the East European country, which has been fending off Russia's aggression for months.
On bilateral ties, Xi expressed hope that France will provide Chinese businesses there with a "fairer, more equitable and nondiscriminatory business environment," the ministry said, amid U.S.-led moves to bar Chinese firms on security grounds.
The Chinese leader also said China and France should "uphold the spirit of independence, openness and cooperation" and asked Paris to encourage the European Union to stay committed to an independent and positive China policy.
Xi said China and France should expand two-way trade and investment, keep global industrial and supply chains stable and smooth, and actively tap into areas such as green energy and scientific and technological innovation for potential cooperation.
Macron told Xi France follows an independent foreign policy and stands against bloc confrontation, according to the Chinese ministry. He also expressed hope to deepen cooperation in areas such as aviation and civilian nuclear energy, it said.
Later in the day, Xi met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Bali and stressed the need to improve bilateral ties, according to state-run media.
The two countries' relations have been strained over Australia's call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, following detection of the first cases in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Albanese said in a statement he discussed trade and human rights issues among others.