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Xi Jinping begins first European tour in five years in France with Russia’s war, EU trade at top of his agenda

After a trip to France, Chinese President Xi Jinping will also visit Serbia and Hungary, the countries with close ties with Russia.
President Xi Jinping Meets with French President Emmanuel
President Xi Jinping Meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Bali, 2022. Credit: Chinese Foreign Ministry
Xi Jinping begins first European tour in five years in France with Russia’s war, EU trade at top of his agenda

Chinese President Xi Jinping has praised China’s ties with France as a “model for the international community of peaceful coexistence” as he arrived in Paris with a first official visit to Europe in five years, reported Reuters.

France has been keen to nudge China to pressure Russia to suspend its war against Ukraine. However, no progress has been achieved on the matter. Moreover, China has been recently accused of supporting the Russian defense industry, providing geospatial intelligence, microelectronics, and other key military components to aid Moscow’s war efforts.

Beijing’s self-portrayal as neutral in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine contrasts with its deep alliance with Moscow, termed by Russia’s Putin as a “no limits” friendship before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Also, China has been criticized for refusing to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

During the visit of Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to urge the Chinese president to reduce trade imbalances and use its influence to stop the war in Ukraine.

After France, Xi Jinping will travel to Serbia and Hungary, which maintain close ties with Russia despite its military aggression on neighboring Ukraine, according to Al Jazeera.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China, where he met with top Chinese officials, including the country’s leader, and discussed a large number of issues, including Beijing’s support for Moscow. After the trip, Blinken said the US saw evidence of Chinese efforts to “influence and arguably interfere” in the US elections in 2024.

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