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China's Xi Jinping begins first European tour in five years

Official visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s to France, Hungary and Serbia began on May 5.

Bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the leader of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic are planned.

On May 6, Xi Jinping is expected at the Elysee Palace. The leaders will have lunch together, and then Emmanuel Macron will invite the distinguished guest to his favorite childhood destination, the Pyrenees.

The New York Times calls the Chinese President’s arrival in France the most important stop on his trip to Europe, because Emmanuel Macron also shares the view that the post-war world order has served out its time and should be replaced by a new architecture, promoting the thesis of the «strategic autonomy» of the European Union.

Russian experts, on the contrary, emphasize the fact that the Chinese leader is going to visit Belgrade on May 7, where the Embassy of China was destroyed 25 years ago by a U.S. air strike. Kremlin propaganda sees in this some kind of symbolism and a message to the United States.

The last stop on Xi Jinping’s European tour is Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban supports Chinese investments in his country and uses all available tools and mechanisms to reduce criticism of China from the EU leadership.