China's Xi Jinping visits France to work through global crises

China's President Xi Jinping has arrived in France for a rare state visit that marks 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to urge the Chinese leader to reduce trade imbalances and to use his influence with Russia over the war in Ukraine.

The two-day visit, Xi's first trip to Europe in five years, comes at a time of mounting trade disputes between Europe and China.

"We want to obtain reciprocity of exchanges and have the elements of our economic security taken into account," Macron said in an interview with French newspaper La Tribune on Sunday.

The European Union's members – in particular France and Germany – are divided on their attitude towards China.

"In Europe, we are not unanimous on the subject because certain players still see China as essentially a market of opportunities," Macron said, without naming any countries.

These divisions could undermine the EU's ability to influence the Asian giant.

A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry, Lin Jian, said his country was looking forward to working with France.

"This visit is an opportunity, to make new contributions to world peace, stability, development and progress," he said at a press conference.

But Xi's visit – which includes a banquet at the Elysée Palace and a trip to the Pyrénées mountains – risks being short on diplomatic success for Macron, according to observers.

(with newswires)

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