Xi Jinping in Europe to Discuss Trade and Military Strategy

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.06 - 2024 9:14 AM CET

Photo: Alessia Pierdimenico / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Alessia Pierdimenico / Shutterstock.com
China's President Xi is in Paris to meet President Macron, with discussions on trade and the Ukraine conflict on the agenda.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Paris this Monday for his first visit to the region in five years.

His agenda includes talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, focusing on trade issues and the conflict in Ukraine.

China's Positive Sentiments

Upon arriving, Xi praised the strong relationship between China and France, despite current tensions over trade, such as the European Union's investigation into Chinese electric vehicle exports and China’s scrutiny of French brandy imports.

According to Reuters, Xi described the China-France relationship as "a model for the international community of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between countries with different social systems."

Chinese state media echoed Xi’s positive outlook, noting the inevitable challenges in such a large trade relationship.

"China-EU economic and trade cooperation is huge, and bumps and bruises are inevitable," wrote The People's Daily.

The Global Times stated that "China's desire to expand cooperation with Europe and support Europe's strategic autonomy remains unwavering."

EU's Mixed Responses to China

Views on China vary among EU member states, with France preferring a tougher stance on trade issues, while Germany opts for caution.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will not attend the Paris meetings.

Ahead of Xi's visit, Macron explained to La Tribune that Europe does not have a unified approach to China, with some viewing it mainly as a market of opportunities.

France hopes to use Xi's visit to encourage China to press Russia to stop its actions in Ukraine. This follows Xi’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after Macron's last trip to Beijing.

The China Daily suggested that Ukraine is a key topic for European leaders visiting China and mentioned the potential for China and Europe to collaborate on a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.

France also aims to open Chinese markets for its agricultural products and address French cosmetic industry concerns about intellectual property rights. During his visit, Xi is expected to place an order for about 50 Airbus aircraft.

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