Visit by Xi Jinping | Emmanuel Macron advocates “decisive” coordination on Ukraine

(Paris) Emmanuel Macron welcomed Xi Jinping to the Élysée on Monday for a two-day state visit to France, immediately calling for “fair” trade rules, as disputes accumulate between Europe and China, and “decisive” coordination on the war in Ukraine.

The French president, who still hopes to position his country as a “balancing power” in the face of the Sino-American standoff, is celebrating 60 years of bilateral diplomatic relations with his Chinese counterpart, who arrived the day before in Paris for his first European tour since 2019.

“The international situation, very clearly, requires this Euro-Chinese dialogue more than ever,” affirmed Emmanuel Macron at the opening of the exchanges, while some of his opponents, such as the Socialist candidate for the European elections in June Raphaël Glucksmann, accuse him of “rolling out the red carpet” in an “obsequious” manner for a “dictator”.

For the first interview, he was flanked by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen in order to display, as five years ago and last year in China, a united continental front on trade issues.


French President and European Commission President Ursula von der

President Macron explained that he wanted to raise “in all friendship and trust” the “concerns, to try to overcome them”, warning against “a logic of decoupling which would be harmful” on the economic level, and advocating “fair rules for all “.

The boss of the Brussels executive also asked for “equal access to markets”. Before the meeting, she insisted that Europe could “not accept” the “unfair trade” caused by the influx of electric vehicles or Chinese steel manufactured with “massive subsidies”.

“Olympic Truce”

Facing them, the number one of the Asian superpower did not get into the hard issues in the presence of the cameras, only pleading for China and the European Union to strengthen their “strategic coordination” and remain “partners”.

Trade disputes are numerous and could lead to increases in customs taxes. Threatened with being caught between the American and Chinese economies, massively aided by public authorities, the EU has in recent months increased investigations into Chinese state subsidies to several industrial sectors, particularly electric vehicles.

The French president recognized, in La Tribune Sunday, that the Europeans were “not unanimous” on their strategy. A barely veiled dig at Germany, often accused of going it alone to preserve its car exports to the world’s second largest economic power.

In Beijing, European measures are considered “protectionist”. The Chinese authorities have launched their own anti-subsidy investigation mainly targeting French cognac, against which the French president intends to speak out.

If no incredible contract has been announced at this stage, a Franco-Chinese economic forum is planned for Monday at the Marigny theater.

After a formal welcome with great fanfare at the start of the afternoon at the Invalides, the Franco-Chinese duo will have a more political tête-à-tête followed by statements to the press and a banquet at the Élysée.

The Frenchman intends to ask the Chinese to support the “Olympic truce” during the Paris Games this summer. “Coordination” with Beijing on the “major crises” in Ukraine and the Middle East is “absolutely decisive”, he insisted on Monday.

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 against Kyiv. Even “encourage it to use the levers” it has over Moscow to “contribute to a resolution of this conflict”, according to the Élysée.


Emmanuel Macron brought this same message a year ago to China, with modest results.

Wishing for the return of “peace and stability” in Europe, Xi Jinping assured in an article published in Le Figaro wanting to “work with France and the entire international community to find good avenues to resolve the crisis” in Ukraine.

But he continues to show his support for Russia, and will go after France to Serbia and Hungary, two countries that have remained close to Moscow, before probably receiving President Putin in China.

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

On the sensitive issue of human rights, Emmanuel Macron says he prefers to discuss “disagreements” rather “behind closed doors”.

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


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