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China’s president arrives in Europe to reinvigorate ties at a time of global tensions – Times of India



NEW DELHI: Chinese President Xi Jinping started a trip to three European countries on the continent is divided on how to handle Beijing’s increasing influence and the rivalry between the US and China.
European car manufacturers are facing a decline in market share due to the presence of Chinese electric vehicles that receive subsidies. Diplomats are concerned about suspected Chinese spies operating in European capitals.Furthermore, the ongoing defense trade between China and Russia raises concerns among Europeans who advocate for Ukraine and are apprehensive that the Russian military expansion may not end there.
Europe and China have strong economic connections. The trade between EU and China is estimated to be 2.3 billion euros per day. Xi seems committed to strengthening and enhancing relationships with European leaders after a long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi begins on Sunday in France. The president of France desires for Europe to achieve greater economic and strategic independence from other global powers. Subsequently, the Chinese president travels to Serbia and Hungary. Both countries are considered friendly towards China and have close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They have also received significant investments from China.
Xi’s visit to Washington will be closely monitored for indications of reduced European backing for its main foreign policy objectives. Meanwhile, Europe is becoming more uncertain about the future support from the US for trans-Atlantic allies.
Xi is receiving a welcome at Paris’ Orly Airport from French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, along with facing protests from groups urging France to exert pressure on China to uphold Tibetan and Uyghur rights. Activists advocating for a free Tibet tried to display a banner beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Saturday, and demonstrated in the French capital at the moment Xi’s plane arrived.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron will extend formal honors to the Chinese leader during a full state visit. They will also have a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. She is anticipated to collaborate with Macron in advocating for more equitable trade policies and urging China to utilize its influence with Russia to help bring an end to the war in Ukraine.
The European Union initiated an inquiry last autumn regarding subsidies provided by China and is considering the possibility of levying tariffs on electric vehicles that are being exported from China.
China states that it is neutral in the conflict in Ukraine but has declined to label the extensive Russian attack on Ukraine as an invasion, and has faced allegations of enhancing Russia’s ability to manufacture weapons.
( with input from agency)

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