Daily Review: Xi Looks to Sow Divisions in Europe

Daily Review: Xi Looks to Sow Divisions in Europe
French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese President Xi Jinping and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meet for a working session in Beijing, April 6, 2023 (pool photo by Ludovic Marin via AP).

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today in Paris for talks at the start of a five-day visit to Europe, Xi’s first in five years. Xi will also travel to Serbia and Hungary during the trip. (New York Times)

Our Take

For Macron and von der Leyen, the talks today were an opportunity to press Xi on the two main issues driving tensions between the EU and China. First, there is Beijing’s support for Moscow amid the war in Ukraine, which Xi has not budged on more than two years into the conflict. Second, there are the worsening trade imbalances between China and the EU, the result of overcapacity in China, particularly in the electric vehicle and green technology industries.

Xi is unlikely to alter China’s position on either issue, however. Beijing has clearly concluded that the war in Ukraine is not an impediment to deepening its strategic partnership with Moscow. And as Mary Gallagher has written about in recent columns, China has both political and economic reasons to double down on export-driven growth.

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