China confirms Xi Jinping’s European tour will include visits to France, Serbia and Hungary

China has confirmed that President Xi Jinping will visit Europe next month, travelling to France, Serbia and Hungary between May 5 and 10.

The visit comes at a crucial time amid escalating trade tensions between Beijing and Brussels and with Russia’s war in Ukraine continuing.

The trip to France, where he will meet President Emmanuel Macron, will be Xi’s first in five years.

Lin Jian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said China looked forward to working with France to further improve political mutual trust and cooperation through Xi’s visit, which could also “inject stability into the development of China-Europe relations and make new contributions to peace and stability in the world”.

Macron had promised to visit China every year while in office and he expects these visits to be reciprocated by China’s leader.

The foreign ministry also said that Xi would discuss upgrading China-Serbia relations when he met his counterpart Aleksandar Vučić.

China has no ‘fundamental’ conflict of interest with Germany, Xi tells Scholz

Lin said China looked forward to working with Serbia, which is not a member of the European Union, and using this visit as a chance to “cement ironclad friendship” and expand practical cooperation between the two countries.

During Xi’s visit to Hungary, he is expected to hold talks with Hungarian President Tamás Sulyok and Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Hungary has confirmed the Chinese president will visit on May 8-10 after he visits Serbia.

Hungary under Orban has been the most China-friendly country in the EU. Orban attended the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in October, pledging to improve infrastructure collaboration between the two countries, which are working on the completion and opening of the Budapest-Belgrade railway.

Hungary and Serbia are also close to Russia, with Orban repeatedly rejecting calls within the EU to sever economic ties with Moscow, which Hungary depends on for oil and gas supplies.

Xi’s trip comes at a time of growing European concern about trade practices, including limited access to the Chinese market and a huge trade imbalance.

The bloc has launched a series of investigations into alleged subsidies that help Chinese firms undercut their European competitors. It recently launched a probe into China’s public procurement of medical devices, solar panels and wind turbines. Another investigation into the electric vehicle sector began in October.

Beijing has repeatedly objected to these actions, and has urged countries to exert their strategic autonomy – a stance that aligns with Macron’s call for a more robust and independent EU.

China under scrutiny over Ukraine as Xi prepares for Europe tour, Putin visit

Next month Xi will welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin to Beijing – a trip that is certain to attract close attention from the international community.

China’s closeness to Russia and its stance on the Ukraine war are a major source of tension with the EU despite its insistence it is neutral in the conflict.



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