Macron in China, seeking stronger ties between two countries

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French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in China on January 8 for a three-day state visit. He brought the unusual gift of a real-life horse, a twist on the Chinese tradition of “panda diplomacy.”

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in China on January 8 for a three-day state visit aiming to “bolster economic and political ties between Beijing and the euro zone’s second-largest economy,” reports CNBC.

  • Keen to push for more access to China’s lucrative markets, Macron is joined by a high-profile delegation of around 50 business executives, including the heads of Airbus, Areva, and luxury French brands such as LVMH.
  • Macron brought President Xi an unusual gift of a horse during his visit, a move “apparently inspired by the Chinese tradition of ‘panda diplomacy,’” according to the Guardian.
  • Jean-Louis Rocca, a China expert at the Paris-based Sciences Po Centre de Recherches Internationales (CERI), told France 24 that besides trade and business, he didn’t see what Macron could do about the North Korea issue, and that the French president seemed unwilling to initiate any human rights conversations with Xi due to Beijing’s hostile attitude on this topic.
  • Toulouse-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus is reportedly offering China a production role on its largest passenger jet, the A380, if China agrees to place orders for it. The suggested partnership is crucial to the company due to slow sales of the jet.