Summit meeting

Published on 13 April 2023 at 08:37
china france macron xi jinping

The President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, received two distinguished guests in Beijing from 5 to 7 April: the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. While both were there to defend the EU's interests, von der Leyen took a harder line against China, warning of the potential consequences of cooperation with Russia.

In the run-up to the meeting, the French president posited himself as a staunch defender of European interests. It was his remarks about Taiwan, however, that made the most headlines. Not even back from his state visit, as China geared up for major military exercises around the island, Macron warned Europeans against being "followers" and “adapting ourselves to an American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction". While this analysis must have made Beijing happy, it was heavily criticised in the West, condemned as both a "mistake" and a "disaster", and even as veiled "encouragement" for China's ambition to bring Taiwan back into its fold.

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