French President Emmanuel Macron began his three-day state visit to China on Wednesday with the aim of boosting EU-China ties. Macron, who was accompanied by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and a delegation of business leaders, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior officials in Beijing.
The two leaders discussed a range of issues, including trade, climate change and regional security. Macron said he hoped to strengthen cooperation with China on common challenges and interests, while also addressing differences and concerns.
Macron’s visit to China was seen as an attempt to balance his relations with Beijing and Washington amid rising tensions between the two superpowers. Macron has advocated for a more assertive and united European stance on China, while also seeking to maintain dialogue and cooperation with Beijing on global issues.
Macron’s visit was also seen as a way to boost France’s economic interests in China, which is the EU’s largest trading partner. France has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent protests against Macron’s pension reform plan. Macron hoped to secure more market access and investment opportunities for French companies in China, as well as more Chinese support for his initiatives on Africa and multilateralism.