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European Union China Emmanuel Macron Ursula von der Leyen

EU leaders pay rare visit to China

European Union executive head Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron are to land in China on Wednesday seeking to "reset" ties with an important economic partner while broaching thorny issues like Ukraine and trade risks, TurkicWorld reports citing Reuters.

Macron last visited China in 2019 while it will be von der Leyen's first trip since becoming European Commission president that year.

For Macron, facing embarrassing pension protests at home, the trip offers a chance to land some economic wins as he travels with a 50-strong business delegation, including Airbus, which is negotiating a big plane order, Alstom and nuclear giant EDF.

However, some analysts said ostentatious deal-signing would appear opportunistic at a time of heightened frictions between the United States and China.

"It's not the time to announce business deals or big new investments," said Noah Barkin, an analyst with Rhodium Group. "It would essentially be a vote of confidence in the Chinese economy and send the message that France is not on board with the U.S. approach."

Von der Leyen has said the EU must cut risks in ties with Beijing, including limiting Chinese access to sensitive technology and reducing reliance for key inputs such as critical minerals, as well as batteries, solar panels and other clean tech products.

Macron invited von der Leyen on the trip as a way to project European unity, after French officials criticised German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for going solo to China late last year.

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