Xi, Macron to discuss Ukraine during China leader's visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to make a state visit to France on May 6 and 7, Paris announced on Monday, with wars in Ukraine and the Middle East expected to be high on the agenda.

The visit to France, which will be followed by trips to Serbia and Hungary, marks the Chinese leader's first European tour since the coronavirus pandemic.

"This visit takes place on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and follows on from the president's visit to Beijing and Guangzhou in April, 2023", President Emmanuel Macron's office said in a statement.

"Exchanges will focus on international crises, first and foremost the war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East, trade issues, scientific, cultural and sporting cooperation," the Elysee palace added.

According to the statement, Xi and Macron will also discuss "joint actions to tackle global challenges, in particular the climate emergency, the protection of biodiversity and the financial situation of the most vulnerable countries."

"China looks forward to working with France to take this visit as an opportunity," said Lin Jian, spokesman of China's foreign ministry, also referring to Beijing's readiness to "make new contributions to world peace, stability, development and progress."

Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron will host Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan in Paris on May 6. On May 7, the two couples will travel to the southwestern department of Hautes-Pyrenees, where Macron travelled often as a child to see his grandmother.

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