Airbus signs mammoth Chinese deal for 300 aircraft


China has signed a deal to buy 300 aircraft from European plane maker Airbus during Chinese leader's Xi Jinping state visit to France. France and China, as well as the European Union and China, can work together in advancing more global agenda, improving global governance system, and protecting multilateralism and free trade, he added.

Juncker said he is looking forward to seeing positive results at the upcoming EU-China leaders' meeting.

Xi stressed the importance of strengthening dialogue with Europe.

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the sidelines of a global governance forum co-hosted by China and France in Paris, France, March 26, 2019.

Referring to China's vast "New Silk Road" infrastructure project connecting the country with Europe, which has sparked unease in the EU, Merkel said: "We Europeans want to play a role".

"Regarding the One Belt One Road initiative, it is a major project and as Europeans we want to play a role, but there needs to be reciprocity and it is still a little hard to find how this reciprocity will function", Merkel said.

This month, the European Commission labeled China a "systemic rival" and presented a 10-point plan proposing a more assertive relationship with Beijing, which Macron welcomed as a belated awakening.

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As this year marks the 55th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties, the Chinese people admire General Charles de Gaulle, who, with a great vision and a remarkable spirit of independence, made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relations with China, making France the first Western country to do so, Xi said.

China and Europe are two major forces in the world, and are important participants in and constructors of the economic globalization process, Xi said, adding that they share broad common interests. The Chinese president also urged both sides to accelerate the negotiations on a China-EU investment treaty, and initiate a joint feasibility study on the China-EU free trade agreement at an early date.

Macron wants to deepen European Union ties with China while pushing back against Beijing's growing global clout.

China is committed to promoting world multipolarization and resolute in safeguarding multilateralism, Xi said, adding that his country is ready to intensify communication and coordination with France on global affairs.

The final order was much bigger than the 184 A320s which Beijing had been eyeing during Macron's state visit to China in January 2018. Furthermore, in 2017 with a total amount of 186 billion euros, China was Germany's largest trading partner, followed by France, whose bilateral exchange was at 70 billion euros. Despite the signing of some lucrative contracts, Macron doesn't want France to negotiate with China on its own.

Emmanuel Macron has launched a charm offensive towards his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, talking of multilateralism and cooperation while tiptoeing around subjects such as human rights.