Xi Jinping Arrives in Paris for Talks with Macron: Trade and Ukraine Discussions on Agenda

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Paris for his first visit to the region in half a decade, with trade issues and the Russia-Ukraine conflict topping the agenda in discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Nitish Verma
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China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave as they arrive on Sunday, May 5, 2024, at Orly airport, south of Paris.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival in Paris marks a significant moment in international diplomacy, as he embarks on his first visit to the region in five years. The visit is set against a backdrop of global tensions, including trade disputes and the ongoing war in Ukraine, making it a crucial juncture for Sino-European relations.

Why It Matters

The visit holds substantial implications for the European Union’s (EU) trade balance and strategic autonomy, as well as for the broader geopolitical landscape influenced by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Xi’s discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are poised to address these pressing issues.

Xi’s visit comes at a time when the EU is scrutinizing Chinese electric vehicle exports, suspecting unfair trade practices. Concurrently, China has initiated an investigation into French brandy imports, potentially escalating trade tensions. Despite these challenges, Xi has lauded the relationship between China and France, describing it as a model of peaceful coexistence and cooperation.

One of the most critical topics on the agenda is the war in Ukraine. Macron is expected to press Xi to leverage his influence over Russia to de-escalate the conflict. This diplomatic effort underscores the EU’s complex position in balancing its relations with both China and Russia.

The EU’s stance towards China is not uniform, with countries like France advocating for a tougher line, while others, such as Germany, prefer a more cautious approach. This division reflects the nuanced and often conflicting interests within the EU regarding its policy towards China.

As Xi Jinping wakes up in Paris, the city prepares for a series of talks that could shape the future of EU-China relations. The outcomes of these discussions are anticipated to have lasting effects on trade, technology, and international diplomacy.

This visit by China’s President to Paris is not just another diplomatic engagement; it is a strategic dialogue at a time when the world is looking for leadership and direction in addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of our time.