Six-Day European Tour: China's President Xi Jinping Seeks to Cement Ties Amidst Rising Tensions

World » EU | April 30, 2024, Tuesday // 16:45
Bulgaria: Six-Day European Tour: China's President Xi Jinping Seeks to Cement Ties Amidst Rising Tensions

Chinese President Xi Jinping is embarking on a six-day tour of Europe amidst escalating trade tensions with the European Union and concerns over China's support for Russia. The trip, Xi's first to the continent since 2019, includes visits to France, Serbia, and Hungary.

During the visit, discussions are expected to address various geopolitical issues, including Russia's conflict in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict. Additionally, trade tensions between China and the EU will be a focal point, with Xi aiming to strengthen Beijing's ties with Budapest and Belgrade.

Chinese President Xi's visit coincides with heightened scrutiny from the EU over Chinese trade practices. The EU has initiated investigations into various Chinese products and companies, raising concerns in Beijing about the potential impact on trade relations.

Despite EU concerns, France has emphasized the need to rebalance trade relations with China. French officials have expressed concerns over trade deficits and called for a more pragmatic approach to EU-China relations.

While trade issues will dominate discussions, French President Emmanuel Macron is also expected to address China's support for Russia. France aims to maintain open channels of communication with China while advocating for EU policies that address China's support for Russia.

In Hungary and Serbia, Xi will focus on deepening bilateral cooperation, particularly in infrastructure projects. China's Belt and Road Initiative will feature prominently, with projects like the Belgrade-Budapest Railway aimed at expanding Chinese influence in Central and Eastern Europe.

Hungary, in particular, has sought significant Chinese investment, especially in the electric vehicle sector. Hungarian officials have expressed opposition to EU investigations into Chinese EVs, highlighting the potential impact on Hungary's manufacturing industry.

Overall, Xi's visit is seen as an opportunity for China to strengthen its relationships with middle powers like France and consolidate its influence in Europe.

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Tags: China, europe, trade, tensions, belt and road

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