Europe united as China's new partner?
French President Emmanuel Macron invited Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker to also attend his meeting on Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. While in Paris Xi promoted Beijing's New Silk Road project. Some commentators see the meeting as a positive development for Europe. Others focus on what wasn't addressed at the meeting.
Macron truly thinks European
To prevent Beijing from once again playing the Europeans off against each other Macron also invited Merkel and Juncker to Paris, Le Monde writes in delight:
“The presence of Merkel and Juncker has given Xi's visit a historic dimension. President Macron deserves full credit for that because it was his initiative. In extending the meeting that was originally planned as a simple bilateral encounter between France and China to include the two most important European partners, Macron has shown that he is serious about his European approach. He has given shape to Brussels' new China strategy.”
Beijing wants to get it right
China is pursuing a long-term plan, Cristian Unteanu comments in his blog with Adevărul:
“With their New Silk Road project the Chinese are trying to avoid all the mistakes their predecessors made in the various regions. They don't want a repeat of the Americans' failed experiment that consisted in trying to impose the 'Coca-Cola cultural model' on others. And nor do they want to follow the 'divide and rule' example set by the European colonial powers - and above all the British. ... The Chinese are also at pains to avoid an extremely unpleasant relationship like that between the EU and Russia, that led to a reboot of the Cold War. They want, as they say, an opening of the markets that is useful to both sides. This is intended to be the foreplay for the biggest negotiations of the millennium: a free trade agreement between the EU and China.”
Just don't get in the way of business
Once again Xi Jinping made offers for lucrative deals, so at this meeting too, human rights were not a topic, Népszava laments:
“During Xi Jinping's visit to France an estimated 40 billion euros in business deals were signed. Airbus for example is selling 300 aircraft to China. At times like this concerns about human rights fade into the background. Not a single European leader has considered it necessary to bring up the issue of the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority that is being locked up in re-education camps. And the pleas for help by Meng Hongwei's wife were also in vain. Her husband, the former director of Interpol, has disappeared without a trace after being arrested on corruption charges months ago in China.”