Xi and a tale of two Europes


Xi and a tale of two Europes

15 May 2024

On May 5, Chinese president Xi Jinping arrived in France for a five-day Europe tour. Xi’s first trip to Europe in five years looks markedly different from his last one in 2019, when multi-billion-dollar deals were signed and Italy became the only G7 nation to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In 2024, the European Union’s (EU) perception of China stands dramatically altered against a backdrop of rising trade tensions and concerns over Beijing’s “no limits” partnership with Moscow. Xi’s first stop was France, which has time and again advocated for European strategic autonomy, often interpreted as scripting a third way between the US-China rivalry. Last year, President Emmanuel Macron ruffled feathers with his controversial comments on Taiwan, and more recently, during his speech at the Sorbonne, he urged Europe not to become a vassal of the US — music to Xi’s ears.
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Harsh V. Pant, Shairee Malhotra

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