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Macron invites Chinese leader Xi to visit the French Pyrenees

by editor

The meeting of the two leaders at a remote mountain pass follows a high-stakes visit in Paris.


France’s president hosted China’s leader at a remote mountain pass in the Pyrenees on Tuesday for private meetings after Xi visited Paris, in a trip dominated by trade disputes and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron made a point of inviting Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Tourmalet Pass near the Spanish border, where Macron spent time as a child visiting his grandmother. 

The invitation was intended as a reciprocal gesture, after Xi took Macron to the residence of the governor of Guangdong province, where the Chinese president’s father once lived, last year.

The winding roads up to the pass were blocked by authorities Tuesday for dozens of kilometres, as security was tightened for the visit. 

Macron and Xi — together with their wives, Brigitte Macron and Peng Liyuan — visited a mountain restaurant in the area. The leaders watched a traditional folk dance before eating local specialties. 

Macron presented Xi with a yellow Tour de France jersey — with the Tourmalet Pass one of the most famous climbs of the race — a woollen blanket made in the Pyrenees and a bottle of Armagnac, French broadcaster BFMTV said.

Xi is on a trip to Europe aimed at reinvigorating relations at a time of global tensions. He heads next to Serbia and Hungary.

During the last day of his visit to France, authorities searched the European Parliament office of a prominent German far-right lawmaker in Brussels on Tuesday, according to Germany’s top prosecutor’s office said.

Maximilian Krah, the Alternative for Germany party’s top candidate in the upcoming European Parliament election, has been under scrutiny after an assistant of his was arrested last month on suspicion of spying for China.

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