French Pres. Macron visits China to replace UK’s place in EU

TEHRAN, Jan. 08 (MNA) – In a bid to have a better share in Chinese market and enhance bilateral ties between France and China after Brexit and election of Donald Trump, French president Macron started an official visit to China on Monday.

Arriving in Chinese capital city of Beijing, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, is making his first official visit to China on Monday for talks aimed at boosting the global influence of both countries and forging closer ties with the European Union.

The three-day visit, the first by the leader of an EU nation since Xi Jinping secured his grip on power at the Communist party congress in October, comes after Macron called for a stronger Europe to “face China and the United States” in his new year message.

Beijing and Paris are both painting Macron’s visit as a chance to transform bilateral ties and establish a stronger partnership between China and the EU.

Xi will be hoping for French – and by extension EU – approval for his expansionist Belt and Road initiative and a tacit nod to China’s ambitions to establish itself as an alternative to the US in a new world order.

Macron is seeking to expand his – and by extension France’s – international influence in the vacuum created by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

Tellingly, Beijing will host Macron before Theresa May, who is expected to visit China at the end of January, having repeatedly delayed a trip penciled in for last summer.

Before the Brexit vote in the UK, Beijing had groomed London as a key ally within the EU and touted a “golden era” of UK-China ties. Its focus has since moved to the French capital.

During the visit, from Monday to Wednesday, Macron will visit Xi’an (the Terracotta Army) and Beijing’s Forbidden City.

Macron urged Europe on Monday to take part in China's Silk Road revival plan, despite some European misgivings about the massive project, as he began a state visit.

Macron also called on Europe and China to team up on curbing climate change, in the face of US plans to withdraw from the Paris accord.

"Our destinies are linked," he said in a keynote speech on the future of Sino-French relations during a visit to the northern city of Xian, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road.

"The future needs France, Europe and China," Macron said, adding he would travel to China "at least once a year".


News Code 131037


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