French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in China on Monday for a state visit that will test his ability to simultaneously woo his host, President Xi Jinping, while threatening to make life harder for him.
Macron, 40, sets out on his first trip to Asia since winning office last year seeking orders for Airbus SE while also bearing a call for greater reciprocal market access. That’s a request he must reconcile with his pursuit of a more economically sovereign Europe willing to block outside investments.
To western governments including France’s, Xi’s public defense of globalization has yet to translate into serious attempts to open up China to foreign companies. Macron is likely to reference the paradox in a speech at the start of his tour in the symbolic setting of the ancient imperial capital of Xian, the eastern departure point of the Silk Roadtrade route.