As France prepares for the eleventh general strike against its controversial pension reform, French President Emmanuel Macron begins a trip to China on Wednesday with the intention of strengthening relations with this country at a time of high tension, due to the Beijing’s support for Russia. Macron, who is traveling with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will meet with President Xi Jinping, whom they will try to dissuade from delivering military aid to Russia.

“China is the only country that can have an immediate impact on the conflict, in one way or another,” say Elysee sources. The objective of this unusual state visit is to maintain a “constant dialogue” with this country, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and “an essential player on the international scene from the demographic, economic, scientific and diplomatic point of view”.

The last time the French president traveled to China was in 2018 and 2019, before Covid. “The reopening after the pandemic offers opportunities to relaunch the dynamics of Franco-Chinese relations in all aspects, at a time when international crises need more than ever to return a horizon to this strategic collaboration,” says the Élysée.

Macron is going to ask his counterpart for solutions to find a path “that leads to the end of the war in the medium term.” The president arrives today and will meet Xi Jinping on Thursday and also the Chinese premier. There will also be Von Der Leyen, who recently warned that the way in which Beijing helps Moscow will condition bilateral relations.

Apart from diplomatic issues, the visit has an important economic component, since it will include several meetings with Chinese investors. Macron, in fact, travels accompanied by more than fifty businessmen or heads of national companies, such as Alstom, EDF or Airbus.

Macron’s Chinese front is no less hot than the one at home: the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, will hold a crucial meeting with the French unions on Wednesday to seek a way out of the crisis arising from the pension reform . This is the first time that both parties have resumed dialogue since the law was approved in January.

There are not many expectations that the appointment will resolve anything, since the unions have already insisted on their demand: that the Government withdraw the pension reform. The Élysée has reiterated that this idea is not on the table. The law, which seeks to raise the retirement age from the current 62 years to 64, has unleashed a social and political crisis, especially after Macron, without a majority in the Assembly, decided to approve it by decree, without going through a vote of Parliament. The latest demonstrations called by the unions have ended with strong disturbances between the police and the demonstrators.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project