Monday Briefing: Xi Jinping Visits Europe

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal of France welcomed Xi Jinping, China’s leader, yesterday.Credit…Pool photo by Stephane De Sakutin

Xi Jinping traveled to Europe

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, arrived in France yesterday on his first trip to Europe in five years. He will also visit Serbia and Hungary.

The three countries, to varying degrees, are embracing China’s push for a new global order. Xi seems intent on seizing opportunities to loosen the continent’s bonds with the U.S. and forge a world freed of its dominance. The visit is likely to be seen as a none-too-subtle effort by Xi to divide Western allies.

Soon after arriving in Paris, he praised France, whose president, Emmanuel Macron, has often made the Gaullist point that Europe “must never be a vassal of the United States.”

The chemistry between Xi and Macron — who visited China just over a year ago, and echoed the Chinese lexicon of a “multipolar” world, freed of “blocs” — appears to lie in a shared view that the postwar order must be replaced. Xi wants to court leaders who are frustrated by U.S. dominance, see China as a counterweight and are eager to bolster economic ties.

Analysis: “Macron is trying to bring a third way in the current global chaos,” said one French expert on relations with China.

What’s next: Tomorrow, Xi heads to Serbia. His arrival coincides with the 25th anniversary of the deadly NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. That mistaken strike, for which the White House apologized, killed three Chinese journalists and ignited protests around the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

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