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>> An obvious starting point for Emmanuel Macron's first official visit to China, viewing the Terracotta Army flanked by 50 business leaders. The French President is, after all, battling to narrow a €30 billion trade deficit with China. Also on his to do list for the trip, a more level playing field in trade relations and greater access to China's booming markets.
But Reuters' Luke Baker in Paris says it's also about pushing France and Europe into the spotlight.>> So part of this trip was about striking business deals. But another big part of it was about appearing like the grand European on the world stage, if you like. When you look at the fact that Chancellor Angela Merkel is bogged down in coalition negotiations.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is bogged down with Brexit. Emmanuel Macron looks like the most, sort of, sane, stable, and, sort of, loudest voice on the European stage. While at the same time the United States is an unpredictable partner. So it was really about, sort of, pushing France up the agenda and doing business with China.
>> For his part, Xi wants Europe to work with China on its new belt and road project, a vast infrastructure plan to recreate the ancient Silk Road trade route. The Chinese leader has pledged $124 billion towards it. But also faces suspicion that it's about asserting Chinese influence rather than spreading prosperity.
> But Macron clearly isn't averse to a bit of horse trading, sometimes literally. His gift to President Xi was a pony from France's elite Republican Guard stables. That after China recently made Macron's wife the godmother of a Chinese panda at a Paris zoo.