Micheál Martin meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today in Beijing. Phil Behan/DFA
Ireland China relations

Tánaiste asks China to use influence on Russia to end Ukraine invasion

Micheál Martin also doubled down on comments he gave some months ago which were critical of China.

TÁNAISTE AND FOREIGN Affairs Minister Micheál Martin has asked China to “use its influence” with Russia to bring an end to the invasion of Ukraine. 

In a meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing today, Martin also doubled down on comments he made in a highly critical speech earlier this year on China. 

He also raised Ireland’s concerns about ongoing human rights issues. 

Martin is in China this week for a series of political, cultural, trade, community events. 

Three hours of discussions were held today on a wide range of issues, it is understood. 

Following the meeting, Martin said one point of discussion was on the situation in Ukraine and in the Middle East.

“I asked that China use its influence on Russia to end their illegal invasion of Ukraine and to withdraw their troops from Ukrainian territory. Any peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine must be based on the UN Charter and must respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“We also discussed the crisis in Israel and Palestine, including in the context of China’s role as Presidency of the United Nations Security Council this month.

“We agreed on the need for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the critical importance of regional de-escalation,” said Martin. 

WhatsApp Image 2023-11-07 at 05.10.06 Phil Behan / DFA Phil Behan / DFA / DFA

The Tánaiste said he also set out Ireland’s “long held concerns” around the human rights situation in China, particularly around the National Security Law in Hong Kong, and the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and elsewhere.

“I emphasised Ireland’s long held view that all human rights issues of concern should be comprehensively discussed and examined at the UN Human Rights Council, and within the wider UN human rights architecture,” he said. 

Martin said the pair discussed the situation in Taiwan.

“I confirmed Ireland’s continued adherence to the One China Policy, as well as the importance we attach to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he added. 

Critical speech 

Martin also said also reiterated the points he made in his speech earlier this year in which he said Ireland must be “realistic and clear-eyed” about China’s strategic goals,

“China’s worldview is different from ours. Our interests and values differ. This reality will inevitably shape how we engage with one another,” he added.

He later defended the speech, stating that the government and the private sector must not be “naive or silent” when confronting China’s behaviours which go against the international rules-based order as set out in the UN Charter or if they see “evidence of core principles being undermined”.

WhatsApp Image 2023-11-07 at 08.35.35 Liú Jiànchāo, current head of the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party meeting with Tánaiste Micheál Martin today. Phil Behan / DFA Phil Behan / DFA / DFA

The speech attracted criticism from the Chinese embassy at the time. 

The embassy took issue with the concept of “de-risking” relations that has arisen recently in European Union and Irish policy towards China.

The European Commission has promoted the idea of “de-risking” the bloc’s most sensitive economic sectors to limit their dependence on China.

It is an ambition of the EU to reduce critical dependencies and vulnerabilities and to diversify where necessary. De-risking economic relations aims to make the EU economy and industry more competitive and resilient.

Speaking today, Martin said both Ireland, and the EU more broadly, have a comprehensive economic relationship with China.

“I stressed our interest in maintaining and strengthening that relationship, on the basis of the global multilateral trading system, with transparent, equitable and mutually agreed parameters and a level playing field.

“I made clear Ireland’s support for the common EU approach on ‘de-risking’ and our obligation to ensure that our economies and societies are resilient and avoid vulnerabilities and over dependence.

“I reiterated the view that I outlined in my May 2023 speech that de-risking is not de-coupling. I welcomed the forthcoming EU-China Summit and the work currently underway on sectoral dialogues to prepare for it,” he said. 

Ireland’s engagement with China is embedded in the global multilateral system and this framed our exchange today, added Martin.

Martin also invited Foreign Minister Wang to visit Dublin.

“Our meeting today underlined again the essential role and value of diplomacy in discussing both areas of cooperation, and issues on which we disagree,” Martin concluded. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel