French President Emannueal Macron, was in China for a state visit, starting last January 8. It is Macron’s first visit to that country since he took office as President. The presence of the French President in Beijing was in response to President Xi Jinping's invitation.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing ahead of Macron's departure that this visit has significance for the China-France relationship. China certainly welcomed Macron's first visit warmly. This is demonstrated by preparing a series of state events involving President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Kegiang and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Zhang Dejiang. From Beijing it was informed that the two sides had exchanged insights on bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern.
In his lecture in front of some entrepreneurs, academics and other important guests in the city of Xi'an, Macron affirmed his commitment to support the Chinese government to rebuild the silk road. In 2013, the Chinese Government launched the "One Belt One Road" program. It is a special expression for the Silk Road Development, reflecting China's bilateral and multilateral relations through economic and trade cooperation with other countries including Europe.
The "One Belt One Road" project aims to connect China through roads, railways and sea routes, with Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Central Asia and further to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Macron's support for the ambitious project Beijing is certainly also expecting reciprocity. France views China as an influential country in Asia that can be invited to forge a strategic partnership covering several issues. Two very important issues for Macron are Terrorism and Climate change. Regarding the climate change, Macron certainly really hopes that President Xi Jinping is willing to implement the Paris agreement on climate change. China's support is seen as crucial, following the US withdrawal from the deal.