Xi and Macron continue their meeting in Pyrenees, adding momentum to relations

May 8, 2024

Xi and Macron continue their meeting in Pyrenees, adding momentum to relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrenees Department of France on Tuesday, as part of his state visit to the European country. Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, at the airport.

The Pyrenees is the birthplace of Macron’s maternal grandmother. In his childhood, the French president commonly visited the town to see his grandmother.  

According to Dong Yifan, a research fellow at the Institute of European Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, “arranging a meeting in the Pyrenees shows that President Macron attaches great importance to the effect of head-of-state diplomacy on elevating China-France relations. He also hopes that his personal relationship will allow the two sides to discuss global governance issues, bilateral issues and the regional situation in a more relaxing manner.”


China refutes Australia’s accusation regarding its provocative naval helicopter

In refuting accusations from Australia which claimed that a Chinese fighter jet fired flares into the path of an Australian naval helicopter last weekend over the Yellow Sea, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on May 7 clarified that the truth is that an Australian military aircraft deliberately flew within close range of China’s airspace in a provocative move that endangered China’s maritime and air security in the name of enforcing UN Security Council’s resolutions. The Chinese military took necessary measures at the scene to warn and alert the Australian side. The way the situation was handled was consistent with Chinese laws and regulations, professional and safe.

Lin stated that China has lodged serious protests to the Australian side on its risky moves, while urging Australia to immediately stop the provocations and hypes to prevent misunderstanding and miscalculation.

The Chinese spokesperson’s remarks came after Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles claimed that a Chinese Chengdu J-10 fighter jet released flares in the flight path of an Australian navy Seahawk helicopter deployed from the Australian air warfare destroyer HMAS Hobart.


China extends visa exemption for 12 countries to 2025 year-end

At a joint meeting with the press with French President Emmanuel Macron on May 6, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China has decided to extend the short-stay visa exemption policy for citizens of 12 countries – including France – to the end of 2025.

Following Xi’s remark, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said during a regular press conference on May 7 that by December 31, 2025, citizens from 12 countries will be able to visit China for business, sight-seeing, transit and other purposes for up to 15 days without having to apply for a visa.

The 12 countries are France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Chinese state media Global Times believe that the measures will significantly boost inbound tourism, which also demonstrate China’s commitment to fostering people-to-people exchanges and determination to opening up.

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