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Xi Jinping to visit France, Serbia this week to promote Belt and Road initiative in a major blow to West

Xi will also visit Hungary, a country Lin called an "important cooperation partner for China in promoting the Belt and Road initiative, and China and Central and Eastern European countries' cooperation."

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Beijing Updated on: April 29, 2024 14:35 IST
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) with his US counterpart Joe Biden
Image Source : AP/FILE Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) with his US counterpart Joe Biden

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit France, Serbia and Hungary from May 5-10, his first Europe trip in five years aimed at boosting EU ties as tensions mount with the world's second-largest economy.

Bilateral relations with France have maintained sound growth momentum, and both countries have had strategic communications and practical cooperation, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said in discussing Xi's visit to France.

"It is time to push the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France to a new level and give new impetus to the healthy development of China-EU relations, to make new contributions to world peace, stability, development and progress," Lin said at a regular press conference.

READ: 'Macron a good friend of mine, visited China and kissed Xi Jinping's... ': Trump over France's anti-US stance

China-EU tensions

"China looks forward to working with France to further enhance political mutual trust, solidarity and cooperation." Tit-for-tat trade disputes with the EU have soured relations as Paris backed a European Commission anti-subsidy probe into Chinese electric vehicle imports.

China then launched an anti-dumping investigation into brandy, a move seen to be targeting France. During his trip, Xi will also hold talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to exchange views on bilateral relations and discuss upgrading the China-Serbia relationship, Lin said.

Xi will also visit Hungary, a country Lin called an "important cooperation partner for China in promoting the Belt and Road initiative, and China and Central and Eastern European countries' cooperation."

Is the EU gearing for a major geopolitical shift?

Notably, earlier last year, when French President Emanuel Macron visited China it was seen as a major shift in the geopolitical order. Shortly after meeting Jinping, Macron lamented the collaborative conclusion of the European Union to follow the agendas promoted by the West, especially the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the soaring China-Taiwan tensions. 

While speaking to the German-owned political newspaper Politico, Macron had asserted Europe must reduce its dependency on the United States. Besides, he also appealed to the EU states to refrain from getting involved in the soaring tension between Beijing and Taipei.

During the interview, he again put forth his tall aspirations of transforming Europe into a "strategic autonomy", which should be led by France. He claimed Europe could become the "third superpower"-- presumably sidelining the West and China.  

Earlier this month when Reuters reported about a possible visit of the Chinese leader to Paris, sources claimed that the trade would be high on the agenda Jinping meets his French counterpart.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Elon Musk heads to China, a week after he postponed India visit: Report

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