France and China discuss trade and Ukraine ahead of Xi Jinping visit

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi & French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, left, after a joint press conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Monday,
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi & French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, left, after a joint press conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Monday, Copyright Ken Ishii/AP
Copyright Ken Ishii/AP
By Euronews with AP
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The meeting between the French foreign minister and his Chinese counterpart comes ahead of a Chinese leader Xi Jinping's planned visit to France.

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Stéphane Séjourné, in talks with his counterpart Wang Yi in the Chinese capital, largely echoed positions that have been laid out by European leaders.

“The rebalancing of our economic partnership is a priority, as it is for our European partners,” Séjourné said at a joint news conference with Wang. “The European Union is a very open market, the most open in the world. But the current deficits with a certain number of countries, including China, are not sustainable for us.”

European officials have expressed concern that a flood of low-priced Chinese-made electric vehicles could disrupt production and displace jobs in Europe.

The EU is investigating whether Chinese government subsidies for EVs give an unfair advantage to Chinese auto exporters. European companies operating in China are complaining that recent changes to national security laws have made it riskier to invest and do business in the country.

On the Chinese side, officials have raised concern about a “de-risking” strategy being pursued by the EU to ensure that it is not overly dependent on any one country for vital supplies and minerals. Wang expressed understanding for the European position but said he hopes it doesn't negatively affect business sentiment.

“I believe the facts have proved and will continue to prove that China constitutes opportunities to Europe, rather than risks," he said. “The two sides are partners not opponents.”

Séjourné posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the two leaders discussed "The desire to strengthen and rebalance our economic relations."

On the topical issue of Ukraine, he said France expects China, as a major country, to pass on clear messages to Russia. China has a different stance on the war, with its support for Ukraine unclear. 

Séjourné said France is determined to maintain a close dialogue with China to contribute toward finding a path to a lasting peace in Ukraine.

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