China’s top diplomat set out on a three-nation trip Tuesday to persuade European leaders that they can do business with Beijing, even as the Chinese try to keep faith in their "unlimited partnership” with a Russia that has plunged Europe into war.

But arriving in Berlin, Foreign Minister Qin Gang was quickly confronted about the war in Ukraine.

"Neutrality means taking the side of the aggressor, and that is why our guiding principle is to make it clear that we are on the side of the victim,” the German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, declared at a joint news conference after they met. Beijing, she said, could be doing much more to help bring the war to an end.