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Xi visits France, trade and Ukraine on the menu

Xi Jinping begins a two-day state visit to France on Monday, where he assures that he wants "œto work" with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron à "resolve the crisis" in Ukraine and continue à invest in France.

Emmanuel Macron, who consulted in advance with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, intends for his part to advocate commercial “reciprocity” and the search for a resolution to the war in Ukraine in the face of a president Chinese who continues to show their support for Russia.

Welcomed on Sunday by Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, the Chinese president is received Monday morning by Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée , as well as the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, to discuss trade disputes, before a more political tête-à-tête in the afternoon.

These disputes are numerous. Threatened with being caught between the American and Chinese economies, massively aided by public authorities, the European Union has in recent months increased investigations into Chinese state subsidies to several industrial sectors, in particular to electric vehicles, accused of distorting competition.

In an interview with La Tribune Dimanche, Emmanuel Macron recognizes that Europeans are “not unanimous” on the strategy to adopt because, he says, ” certain players still see China as essentially an outlet market” while it “exports massively to Europe”.

He pleads to “better protect our national security”, “be much more realistic in the defense of our interests” and “obtain reciprocity”.

– Cognac –

In Beijing, these measures deemed “protectionist” go down badly. The Chinese authorities have launched their own anti-subsidy investigation mainly targeting French cognac, against which the French president intends to speak out. The brandy industry says it is “hostage” to tensions between the EU and Beijing.

Xi visits France, trade and Ukraine on the menu

Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron on April 7, 2023 in Guangzhou, southern China © POOL – Jacques WITT

The number one Chinese superpower assures in Le Figaro that the two countries are able to “deepen their cooperation in terms of innovation to promote green development”, as is already the case with battery factories, and hopes that France will offer its companies “a fair and equitable business climate”.

If no amazing contract has been announced at this stage, discussions about investments are ongoing until the end. A Franco-Chinese economic forum is planned for Monday at the Marigny theater.

< img alt = "sputnik" src = "https://img-4.linternaute.com/tgxoddvnmtcwm_v-5dsuojbdgmu=/600x/smart/adab31a48a0d4fc798963960b544d58c/ccmcms-lintern JPG " /> Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) toasts with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a reception at the Kremlin, March 21, 2023 in Moscow © SPUTNIK – Pavel Byrkin

In the afternoon, after a formal welcome ceremony with great pomp at the Invalides, and before a banquet at the Elysée, Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping will meet face-to-face for the most political sequence, then will express in front of the press.

The French intend to ask the Chinese to support the “Olympic truce” for “all” conflicts during the Paris Games this summer.

Paris wants to at least ensure that China, the main ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, does not fall into clear support for his war effort in the face of in kyiv. Even “encourage it to use the levers” it has over Moscow to “contribute to a resolution of this conflict”, according to the Elysée.

– Escapade –

Emmanuel Macron carried this same message a year ago during his own state visit to China, with modest results.

Wishing for the return of “peace and stability” in Europe, the Chinese president states in Le Figaro that he wants to “work with France and the entire international community to find good avenues to resolve the crisis” in Ukraine.

Xi visits France, trade and Ukraine on the menu

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed on his arrival in France by French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, May 5, 2024 at Paris Orly airport © POOL – Michel Euler

Xi Jinping's visit celebrates 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries and marks his return to Europe for the first time since 2019.

After France, he will visit Serbia and Hungary, two countries that have remained close to Moscow.

The French president will drive the point home on Tuesday, in the Pyrenees, during a getaway more personal between the two men, accompanied by their wives.

The objective of this lunch on the Col du Tourmalet, where, as a child, he spent his holidays with his grandmother, is eminently diplomatic: breaking the imposing protocol to establish a more direct dialogue, particularly on Ukraine.

Xi visits France, trade and Ukraine on the menu

Demonstrators, one wearing a mask of Emmanuel Macron (l) and another dressed as Winnie the Pooh, demonstrate against the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to France, Place de la Madeleine in Paris, on 5 May 2024 © AFP – Stefano RELLANDINI

On the sensitive issue of human rights, Emmanuel Macron says he prefers to discuss “disagreements” rather “behind closed doors” and not to prioritize the Taiwan issue, although it is at the heart of strong tensions between the United States and China.

Several thousand Tibetans, according to their representatives, demonstrated on Sunday in Paris against the visit of the Chinese president, to France, “country of rights of man” who welcomes “a dictator”.

European MP Raphaël Glucksmann denounced during a debate on RTL, the “nameless naivety” of Europe facing “unfair competition from China”, which is based in particular on “the slavery of the Uighurs”, of which he is a fervent defender. “We need ecological protectionism at the borders of the European Union” and “overtax these Chinese products”, he argued.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116