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The French Press

Macron will pressure Xi in China not to send military support to Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron will begin a diplomatic tour of Beijing with the aim of strengthening relations with China and dissuading President Xi Jinping from providing military aid to Russia. Macron’s visit comes as France prepares for the eleventh general strike against its controversial pension reform. Élysée sources say “China is the only country that can have an immediate impact on the conflict, in one way or another.” The objective of the state visit is to maintain a “constant dialogue” with China, which is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an essential player on the international scene.

Macron plans to ask Xi Jinping for solutions to find a path “that leads to the end of the war in the medium term”. The president will meet with Xi Jinping on Thursday and also with the Chinese premier. The visit has an important economic component as well, with several meetings scheduled with Chinese investors. Macron will be accompanied by more than fifty businessmen or heads of national companies, such as Alstom, EDF or Airbus.

The Buck Stops

Apart from diplomatic issues, the visit has an important economic component, since it will include several meetings with Chinese investors. Macron, in fact, travels accompanied by more than fifty businessmen or heads of national companies, such as Alstom, EDF or Airbus.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will hold a crucial meeting with French unions on Wednesday to seek a way out of the crisis arising from the pension reform. This is the first time that both parties have resumed dialogue since the law was approved in January. The unions have already insisted on their demand that the government withdraw the pension reform, but the Élysée has reiterated that this idea is not on the table. The law, which seeks to raise the retirement age from the current 62 years to 64, has unleashed a social and political crisis, especially after Macron, without a majority in the Assembly, decided to approve it by decree, without going through a vote of Parliament.

A Distraction?

In conclusion, Macron’s visit to China has both diplomatic and economic goals. He aims to dissuade China from providing military aid to Russia, while also strengthening relations and exploring new economic opportunities with Chinese investors. At home, the prime minister is attempting to find a way out of the ongoing pension crisis by resuming dialogue with the French unions, but there are not many expectations for a resolution, as the unions continue to demand the withdrawal of the pension reform.