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讓世界看到彩色的香港 讓香港看到彩色的世界

Opinion | President Xi is making inroads in Europe

By Augustus K. Yeung

The Chinese leader is being pompously received by a prestigious France, and a proud French president who was humiliated when Joe Biden, the American president robbed him of a clinched business deal with Australia, which may have had succumbed under U.S. pressure to make a deal with the U.S. together with the U.K. kicked the Aussies into a "nuclear club" – much to the disappointment of peace-loving ASEAN countries.

Note: The Morrison administration had cancelled the deal – which was long made with the administration of Emmanuel Macron, who personally felt snubbed.

Today, Macron, the Frenchman, has got his revenge.  And the happy days for France may also keep coming – as the relations between France and China will keep improving.

Xi Jinping's "head-of-state diplomacy" may have worked once again – after forging his remarkable relationship with President Biden in San Francisco last November. Personally, and nationally, Macron's friendship with Xi Jinping is "deepening", in Xi's language.

Last year, Xi invited Macron to Beijing. From there they travelled together to Guang Dong, a place that is destined to be in the annals of China's history – as it is where the much talked-about Greater Bay Area (GBA) is situated.

Here, during his reign as the Chinese president, Xi Jinping oversaw the monumental construction of the Hongkong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, a feat in modern architecture that stretches from Zhuhai to Hong Kong via Macau.

Now, he is proudly galloping like a gallant gladiator on his horse to France, whose culture and language charm the Chinese President and the First Lady, who has built her career as an artist to be reckoned with.

Who knows what inspirations this welcomed couple would bring back to inspire China upon their return?

For sure, more of the best would come to the GBA, which in turn is destined to draw the blood-brother-like ASEAN countries into the bosom of oriental culture. Much loved like the famed French Riviera occidental culture.

"Xi says China-France ties are win-win cooperation between countries with different systems" is the title of a local English language newspaper, detailing Xi's first leg in his visit to Europe.

Over the past 60 years, China-France relations have long been at the forefront of China's ties with major Westen countries, setting a good example for the international community of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between countries with different systems. Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a written speech on Sunday, May 5 upon his arrival in Paris, Xinhua reported.

Xi started official contact on Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron – who has been stressing the idea of European strategic autonomy from the U.S.

Note: On a visit to Beijing last year, Macron courted controversy by saying France would not necessarily always align with the U.S. in foreign policy, an apparent reference to American support for the self-governing island of Taiwan.

The Chinese leader arrived in France just as Paris is putting the finishing touches on its preparations for hosting the Summer Olympics, an event in which Xi is prepared to leverage it against the U.S.-led Ukraine conflict and the war in Gaza.

France sees Xi's visit as an opportunity of seizing the leadership in the EU; Macron especially invited European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to the talks today.

It comes a month before Macron, who positions himself as the diplomatic leader of Europe, hosts Biden for a similar state visit.

"This is a highly strategic visit to Europe by Xi. And in his itinerary, you can divine the runes of Chinese policy on Europe now, bolstering the traditional links as far as possible, and reinforcing new ones," professor of Chinese Studies at King's College London, Kerry Brown said, according to an Associated Press dispatch.

Xi will also be visiting Budapest, where Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in power for 14 years. Hungry is, by far, the stable supporter of China in Europe.

Note: Hungary has straddled a middle ground between its membership in the EU and NATO and an unusual openness to diplomatic and trade relationships with eastern autocracies such as Russia and China.

Orban, a right-wing populist who has forged close ties with Russia, delayed Sweden's entry into NATO for months. China has also cited NATO expansion as provoking Russia to invade Ukraine.

Xi visits Pyrenees mountains, in a personal gesture by Macron

Today, France's president is hosting China's leader and First Lady, Peng Liyuan at the remote Tourmalet pass up in the Pyrenees mountains – after a high-stakes state visit in Paris dominated by the American-inspired trade disputes and Biden's proxy war in Ukraine.

Macron made a point of inviting Xi to the Tourmalet Pass near the Spanish border, where Macron spent time as a child visiting his grandmother, it is meant to be a reciprocal gesture after Xi took Macron last year to the official residence of the governor of Guang Dong province, where the Chinese president's father once lived.

Snow coated nearby slopes after new snowfall overnight, and security was tightened around the area. The winding roads up to the pass were blocked by authorities yesterday for dozens of kilometers. The mountain meetings come after a grandiose state visit by Xi on Monday that included a ceremonial welcome at the monument housing Napoleon's tomb and a state dinner at the Elysee Palace with celebrities and magnates. (Source: MDT)

Xi is apparently on a trip to Europe aimed at reinvigorating good relations at a time of global tensions. He heads next to two other truly China-friendly countries, Serbia and Hungary.

Since when have Chinese leaders been invited back to a birthplace and share the French president's good childhood memories? This is a unique experience.

The way that the Chinese president is being pompously, personally and uniquely received by the French president suggests the great diplomatic success of Xi's visit to Europe, which since Macron's "declaration of independence" away from U.S. domination may be the beginning of an end to France's subjugation.


The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.

To contact the writer, please direct email: AugustusKYeung@ymail.com

Read more articles by Augustus K. Yeung:

Opinion | China, ASEAN seen propelling global growth – When China does well

Opinion | When TSMC is lured by Biden, Washington gets credit, how's Beijing taking it?

Opinion | Xi-Biden talks seal vision and mission: basis for binding ties

Opinion | Chinese FM Wang Yi visits Cambodia – Beijing's best ASEAN ally


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