China’s Xi Lavishes Macron with Attention to Counter US

Image credit: Economic Times

China’s President Xi Jinping has demonstrated his commitment to cultivating strong relations with France in recent days, giving Emmanuel Macron an especially grand welcome during his state visit. This move highlights Beijing’s efforts to establish stronger alliances within the European Union to counteract the United States.

Mr. Macron and Mr. Xi went together to Guangzhou, a city in Guangdong province known for economic and manufacturing power. These outings with world leaders are typically rare but this one is particularly significant to the Chinese leader as he looks for support to counter the American pressure that seeks “all-round containment, encirclement and suppression”.

In a statement, the professor of China studies and foreign policy at the University of Denver acknowledged that the US-China relationship is the main underlying factor in the Chinese foreign policy endeavors. This line of thought has been reinforced by the Rhodium Group analyst Noah Barkin, who has highlighted the Chinese intention of deterring Europe from aligning further with the United States by working to strengthen the relationship with France. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was also on the visit to push China to talk to Ukraine, played a lesser role as the White House clearly made it a priority to build a bond with Macron as he remains one of the key members of the European Union.

During their journey, the two Presidents continued discussing Ukraine and other regional issues but there were no notable shifts in position from the Chinese President. Still, he was given a warm reception and the money talks. China’s state-backed Global Times expressed their view recommending “everyone” to choose the path of cooperation with China over working with Washington.

Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin noted that “diplomacy, at one point or another, a bit of flattery.” During a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, he remarked that their mutual interactions were partly driven by their human relations.

The US government appears to be cautious regarding the current engagements between France and China over Ukraine. Based on reports, the United States wishes to observe the situation carefully before taking a stance.

China hopes to break off from Washington’s grip, thus it has increased its diplomatic spending with 12.2% this year, cultivating political ties with other countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, and Japan. As one of its latest actions, China has acted as the mediator in the detente between Saudi Arabia and Iran in March.

In the coming weeks, China will remain in Europe as the EU foreign policy Commander Josep Borrell and Germany’s foreign minister visit Beijing.

While there have been several initiatives to strengthen the EU-China ties, it is clear that China is looking to shape a multi-polar world and gain some autonomy as a result of distancing itself from the United States.

Ursula von der Leyen is the current President of the European Commission who took office on December 1st, 2019. During her speech preceding the trip to China, Frau von der Leyen referred to the Asian country as “repressive”. This controversial stance provoked a great deal of debate surrounding the EU’s global challenges and foreign policy objectives.

Xi Jinping, who is thought to be one of the most influential Chinese leaders, has highlighted the economic and diplomatic endeavors of his country since ascending to the role of President in 2013. In October 2017, Xi Jinping was re-elected as the leader of PRC with a five-year term.

The content of this article has been written to provide an overview of the increasing diplomatic engagement between China and the European Union, and more specifically France, in order to create a counterbalance to the US. The importance of maintaining strong relations between countries to ensure peace and prosperity is highlighted, as well as the notable individuals’ prominent roles in this initiative.