Xi prepares to clinch deals on European trip

Xi prepares to clinch deals on European trip

President Xi Jinping is expected to sign several cooperation agreements on manufacturing, finance, energy and cultural exchanges during his upcoming tour of Europe that experts say will set the tone for future ties.

Xi begins his trip on Saturday, his first visit to Western Europe since taking office in March last year.

Europe is also his first overseas destination since the close of the nation's annual two sessions, at which members of China's top legislative and advisory bodies discuss national-level policies.

Analysts said the visit shows the high degree of importance that China attaches to Europe and it will lay the groundwork for future ties.

The Netherlands is Xi's first stop. It will be the first State visit by a Chinese president to the country since the nations established diplomatic ties in 1972.

Xi is expected to sign cooperation agreements on agriculture, energy, finance and culture and is scheduled to meet with King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Xi will also take part in the Nuclear Security Summit scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in The Hague.

He is expected to hold bilateral meetings with foreign leaders, including United States President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit.

From the Netherlands, Xi will travel to France and visit the UNESCO headquarters.

He is also scheduled to meet his French counterpart Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The leaders are due to sign agreements to boost Sino-French cooperation on energy, aerospace, urbanization, agriculture and finance.

It is the 50th anniversary this year of the two nations establishing diplomatic relations.

Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao, discussing Xi's visit at a news conference, said, "France has always played a leading role in ties between China and Western countries".

Ding Chun, a professor of European studies at Fudan University, said, "Paris' recognition of Beijing in 1964 not only shook up the world order imposed by the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War but also was a breakthrough in building a multi-polar world."

Xi will then travel to Germany to meet President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders.

It will be the first visit to Germany by a Chinese president for eight years and Xi and German leaders will set the tone for Sino-German ties in the next five to 10 years.

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