Foreign ministers prepare for Chinese President Xi's visit to France

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne is laying the groundwork for a visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping. He wants leaders in Beijing to agree to more "sustainable" trade and says they must play the role of peacemakers.

Sejourne met in Beijing on Monday with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. They want to nurture closer ties as they mark 60 years of diplomatic relations.

Sejourne has seen Chinese leaders adopt a neutral stance toward Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He said he expects them to send "very clear messages." "We all want peace to come," he said. "But it will only come if Ukraine is involved in discussions and negotiations and if the balance of power is in Ukraine's favor."

Sejourne also pressed his hosts on trade. "You know that the rebalancing of our economic partnership is a priority, as it is for our European partners," he said. The French are importing more from the Chinese than they export. But Sejourne said they do not want to "decouple."

Wang told Sejourne that China "constitutes opportunities" for Europe, rather than "risks." "We also hope not to see the de-risking idea bringing negative and frustrating prospects for entrepreneurs and the business world," he said.

Wang said Chinese officials are willing to import more high-quality products and services from France. They have seen officials in the US place tariffs on their goods and restrict exports of microchips and other high-tech hardware. They say they want to prove that China and Europe are "partners rather than rivals."