Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected on a state visit to France on Monday May 6 and Tuesday May 7 to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, but also to discuss international crises with Emmanuel Macron, including the war in Ukraine. This visit to France by the Chinese president takes place one year after that of the French president to Beijing and Canton, in April 2023, the Elysée recalled in a press release.

Xi Jinping is due to land in Paris on the evening of Sunday, May 5. The Chinese president and his wife, Peng Liyuan, will then be received on Monday May 6 by Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron in Paris, where a state dinner is planned at the Elysée. On May 7, the two couples will travel to the Hautes-Pyrénées, where the French head of state wants to share a more intimate moment with his counterpart. He went there a lot in his childhood to visit his maternal grandmother, Germaine Noguès, who died in 2013 and who lived in Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

“The discussions will focus on international crises, first and foremost the war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East, trade issues, scientific, cultural and sporting cooperation as well as our common actions in the face of global issues, in particular climate emergency, the protection of biodiversity and the financial situation of the most vulnerable countries,” added the French presidency.

This is the start of the Chinese head of state’s first European tour since the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the Asian country interrupt a number of interactions with the rest of the world for a long time. After his visit to France, Xi Jinping must notably make stops in Serbia, then in Hungary, where he is expected from May 8 to 10, the Chinese authorities also confirmed on Monday.

Call to “bring Russia to its senses”

Paris evokes a very political visit without major contracts to expect, even if Emmanuel Macron hopes to attract new Chinese investments, particularly in electric batteries. Lin Jian, spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy, said for his part that the two leaders will try to “make new contributions to world peace, stability, development and progress.”

Chinese authorities say they are officially neutral regarding the conflict in Ukraine and call for a peace solution, but have never condemned the Russian invasion. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Beijing’s privileged partner, is also due to visit China in May. A year ago in China, Emmanuel Macron called on Xi Jinping to “bring Russia to reason” with regard to Ukraine “and everyone to the negotiating table”. Shortly after, the Chinese president called his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, for the first time since the start of the conflict, in February 2022. But the diplomatic progress expected by Paris on the Russo-Ukrainian front stopped there.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also asked President Xi in Beijing in mid-April to put pressure on Moscow to stop its “senseless campaign” in Ukraine, while affirming German-Chinese support for a planned peace conference. in June in Switzerland. The Chinese number one also received last week the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, with whom he called on the United States to “be partners, not rivals”. The American Secretary of State, for his part, said he had expressed his concerns to China regarding the support given to Russia, affirming that the invasion of Ukraine would be more “difficult” without the support of Beijing.

Last year, Xi Jinping received Emmanuel Macron in Guangzhou for a tea ceremony in the residence of the governor of Guangdong province, where his father, Xi Zhongxun, had lived when he held this position, from 1978 to 1981.