China’s Xi heads to France

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Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to the French Riviera on Sunday for the final leg of his European tour.

Xi’s trip will begin in the Mediterranean city of Nice and a brief visit in the nearby principality of Monaco before face-to-face talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

On Monday, the two leaders head to Paris for the official state visit, marking 55 years since Charles de Gaulle broke ranks with the West to establish diplomatic relations with the Communist nation. Xi’s visit poses a particular challenge for Macron, who wants to deepen EU ties with China while also pushing back against Beijing’s growing clout.

A series of cooperation deals on nuclear power, aerospace and clean energy initiatives, some involving lucrative contracts, are expected to be signed. Macron is expected to press his call for increased “reciprocity” regarding market access to China, in particular Beijing’s demands that foreign companies hand over vital technological know-how in order to invest in the country.

On Tuesday, Macron and Xi will be joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to explore “points of convergence” ahead of an EU-China summit in Brussels next month.

Xi arrives in France from Italy, which has angered its EU partners by formally joining China’s “new Silk Road” initiative for a string of maritime, rail and road connections aiming at expanding Chinese trade.

Via France 24

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