Airbus wins China order for 300 jets

Elias Hubbard
March 26, 2019

Xi's official visit to Paris will mark 55 years since Charles de Gaulle established diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Xi said that great changes have taken place in the global situation, but China-France relations have always kept developing on a high level and in a sound and stable way.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a state visit in France where he is expected to sign a series of bilateral and economic deals on energy, the food industry, transport and other sectors.

In anticipation of the visit, Xi had penned a column in conservative newspaper Le Figaro urging French companies to join the Belt and Road Initiative, the official name for the massive infrastructure project aimed at establishing greater links between Asia and Europe.

The project has raised eyebrows in Washington and the European Union where critics say it will give China too much sway although Xi stresses it would be a two-way street of investment and trade.

Amid tight security, Xi and his wife were Sunday evening to join Macron and his wife for a private dinner at nearby Beaulieu-sur-Mer overlooking the Mediterranean during which they would have what a Chinese official termed "deep exchange of views on Sino-French, Sino-European relations and worldwide and issues of mutual interest".

Xi will also meet in Paris on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Germany criticised Rome over its participation in the new Silk Road project.

China's leader emphasized that "a united and prosperous Europe fits in with our vision of a multipolar world".

"And if some countries believe that they can do clever business with the Chinese, then they will be surprised when they wake up and find themselves dependent".

Meng's wife has had no news of her husband since his arrest in China almost six months ago and it emerged Sunday she has written to Macron asking him to bring up his disappearance with Xi.

In a statement to the media, Xi added, "China will always back European integration and its development". Europe must not become a "vassal" of Beijing, he said at a summit last week.

So far France has not ruled out using Huawei gear - and Monaco has already signed a deal with the Chinese giant to roll out a 5G network as soon as this year. The U.S. planemaker is also struggling with the fallout from a China-U.S. trade war that's seen sales to the Asian nation dry up, just as Airbus bolsters its position with an offer to expand production facilities in Tianjin.

Beijing has bristled at the suspicions, accusing Washington of trying to escalate President Donald Trump's trade battle with China.

For example, Macron may seek more Chinese support of the French-backed G5 Sahel force fighting Islamic extremists in Western Africa.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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