Xi-Jinping visit to Serbia

Xi-Jinping visit to Serbia
Xi-Jinping visit to Serbia

AFP

Macron takes Xi to the Pyrenees for a “personal” getaway

After the gold of the Elysée, the snow of the peaks: Emmanuel Macron takes Xi Jinping to the Pyrenees on Tuesday on the second day of his state visit, for a “personal” getaway supposed to allow a more direct dialogue on the war in Ukraine or trade disagreements.”Our French mountains”, “I hope, will continue to inspire us”, launched the French president lyrically on Monday as he welcomed his Chinese counterpart to Paris for the first time since 2019. He said he expected , in the Hautes-Pyrénées (south-west), for “fruitful and friendly discussions”. The two leaders are expected at the Col du Tourmalet, legendary climb of the Tour de France, where the weather is still winter even if the season is over at the La Mongie ski resort. A setting which contrasts with that of the presidential palace where, between a welcome with great pomp and a sumptuous banquet, they did not seek to hide the disputes over trade between Europe and the China.Emmanuel Macron called for a “fair competition framework”, congratulating himself at the end of the discussions for having preserved French cognac from the threat of “provisional” Chinese customs taxes. Invited to display a united continental front , European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned that the European Union would take “firm decisions” to “protect its economy”, denouncing the influx of massively subsidized Chinese electric vehicles.”The so-called +problem of “China’s overcapacity+ does not exist”, Xi Jinping responded dryly. On Ukraine, he wanted to be more consensual, reaffirming his desire to work towards a political solution. And he gave his support to a “Olympic truce” on the occasion of the Paris Games this summer, also pushed by Emmanuel Macron. According to a French diplomatic Source, this truce could serve, with regard to Ukraine, to initiate a more political process after more than two years of conflict. But Paris, which has insisted for a year that Beijing puts pressure on Russia to contribute to putting an end to the war, wants to be “lucid” about the limited chances of a rapid breakthrough. Especially since the Chinese president remains the main ally of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, whom he is due to receive soon.- Seduction -The Pyrenean stage could, in the mind of the French delegation, promote “a frank and friendly exchange ” on these thorny subjects. The idea is to break the imposing protocol which accompanies the slightest movement of the Chinese number one. This corner of the mountain is “directly linked to the very personal history” of Emmanuel Macron, explains those around him. The one who will celebrate the 7th anniversary of his first election on Tuesday, spent many holidays between the town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre and La Mongie with his grandparents to whom he was very attached. Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping, accompanied by their wives will have lunch in the mountain restaurant of Eric Abadie, breeder and friend of the president. A sort of response to the tea ceremony they shared last year in Canton in the official residence where the Chinese president’s father had lived when he was governor of Guangdong province.”Emmanuel Macron’s diplomacy has always focused, perhaps excessively, on the power of seduction”, analyzes Bertrand Badie, specialist in international relations at Sciences Po. “There was always in him the idea that his personal relationships could overthrow structures”, he adds. The intimate setting of the Tourmalet contributes to this desire. “But that’s not knowing Xi Jinping, who is not really a great sentimentalist,” warns the researcher. The Socialist candidate for the European elections in June Raphaël Glucksmann denounced the “friendly tone” of this official visit. “The man who deports the Uighurs, who represses the Hong Kongers and the Tibetans is not our friend,” he declared on RTL. His right-wing opponent François-Xavier Bellamy (Les Républicains) also pointed out LCI Beijing’s “interferences” and its “aggressive strategy to bring down our economy”. The head of the Macronist list Valérie Hayer nevertheless defended the desire of the Head of State to speak to his Chinese counterpart, wishing on France 2 “a direct and frank dialogue on all subjects”. The political scientist Bertrand Badie acquiesces: with Xi Jinping’s China, “there is real work to be done” because no one, so far, “has found the key to Euro-Chinese relations”.fff/gbh/jmt/sp

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