Xi Jinping has arrived in France: what are the program and issues of the Chinese president's visit ?

Xi Jinping has arrived in France: what are the program and issues of the Chinese president's visit ?

Xi Jinping et Emmanuel Macron lors de la visite du Président français en Chine, le 6 avril 2023. XinHua/MAXPPP – Xie Huanchi

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Paris this Sunday, May 5, in the afternoon, for a two-day state visit. The war in Ukraine and Sino trade relations -French are on the agenda for discussions with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Back for the first time in Europe since 2019, the number one Asian superpower organized his tour under the seal of diplomatic balance: after the visit of’ State in France, which has been asking him for a year to use his influence to "bring Russia to reason",he will travel to Serbia and Hungary, two countries that have remained close to Moscow.

Welcomed by Prime Minister Gabriel Attal at Paris's Orly airport, Xi Jinping arrived on French soil this Sunday, May 5, around 4 p.m.

60 years of Franco-Chinese diplomatic relations

Monday May 6, Xi Jinping, who is coming to celebrate 60 years of Franco-Chinese diplomatic relations, will have a series of meetings with Emmanuel Macron, who consulted in advance with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In the morning, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will join the Franco-Chinese duo at the Elysée for a session which should allow raise trade disputes. And they are many. 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, particularly electric vehicles. accused of distorting competition.

A Franco-Chinese economic forum is also scheduled for Monday at the Marigny theater. In the afternoon , after a formal welcome ceremony with great fanfare at Les 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 speak to the press.

Support the "Olympic Truce"

The French intends to ask the Chinese to support the "Olympic truce" for "the’set" 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 switch to clear support for his war effort against kyiv. Or even "encourage him to use the levers" which it has over Moscow to "contribute to a resolution of this conflict", according to the Elysée . Emmanuel Macron carried this same message a year ago during his own state visit to China, with modest results.

Break the protocol

The French president will nevertheless try to drive the point home Tuesday May 7, in the Pyrenees, on the occasion ofa more personal escapade 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.

On the sensitive issue of human rights, Emmanuel Macron says he prefers to discuss "disagreements" rather "behind closed doors". Paris also did not want to prioritize the issue of Taiwan, even though it is at the heart of the strong tensions between the United States and China. Several hundred Tibetan activists gathered on Sunday at Place de la République in Paris to denounce China as a predator and "a colonial regime". "No to Chinese totalitarianism", one could read on a banner.

From Wednesday 8 to Friday May 10, Xi Jinping will then visit Serbia and Hungary.

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