Xi Dines With Macron in France, and Pays a Visit to Monaco’s Prince

Xi Dines With Macron in France, and Pays a Visit to Monaco’s Prince


MONACO — President Xi Jinping of China has found one country in Europe that isn’t worried about his country’s growing global clout or its ambitions to dominate the future of technology: Monaco.

Mr. Xi visited the tiny Mediterranean principality on Sunday as part of a European tour that is clouded by mixed feelings about how to engage with China and benefit from its trade — while setting limits on its appetite for greater economic and diplomatic influence.

The president’s appearance alongside Prince Albert II of Monaco represented the first state visit here by a Chinese president. The palace said Monaco was interested in increased trade and economic cooperation with China and “boosting China’s image in the principality.”

Monaco clinched a deal last year with the Chinese tech company Huawei to develop its 5G telecommunications network — a thorny issue for several European countries.

The United States government says Huawei’s 5G network could give Chinese security services a back door to spy on consumers, and has pressed European partners to shun it. Huawei says the fear is unfounded.

Monaco imposed exceptional security for Mr. Xi’s visit.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen this … ” Marc Bonafede, the owner of a restaurant in Monaco, said, trailing off. “Stores closed, windows shuttered, no one in the street.”

Monaco banned all flights in its airspace during Mr. Xi’s brief visit and any sailing in its waters.

The nearby French city of Nice, where Mr. Xi is spending the night, was similarly cordoned off. The Promenade des Anglais — the beachside avenue that is Nice’s premier attraction — was closed to traffic all weekend. The promenade was targeted by a deadly terrorist attack in 2016.

Outside the French resort town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, where Mr. Xi was dining Sunday night with President Emmanuel Macron of France, a police boat patrolled throughout the day.

Mr. Xi is expected to sign energy and other contracts with Mr. Macron on Monday, then meet in Paris on Tuesday with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The trip to France comes after Mr. Xi’s visit in Italy, which just endorsed China’s vast global transportation infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative. Mr. Macron criticized Italy’s move, calling for a concerted European approach to China instead.

France has not decided yet whether to let Huawei build its 5G networks, but it is likely to be a subject of discussions during the Chinese leader’s visit.



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