Xi arrives in Paris, to hold talks with Macron

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Paris, the first leg of his three-nation European tour, on Sunday. He is to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says Xi issued a written statement, saying he hopes the visit will help cement the long-standing friendship between China and France and open a brighter future for bilateral relations.

It is Xi's first trip to Europe in five years. He will also go to Serbia and Hungary through Friday.

Xi and Macron are expected to discuss bilateral relations as the two countries mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year.

The leaders are also likely to exchange views on the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East, among other issues.

Xi is also expected to hold three-way talks in France with Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The three are to discuss China-EU relations.

Macron is to take Xi to the Pyrenees, a mountainous region in southwestern France, on Tuesday and have more talks there.

Beijing appears to be trying to strengthen ties with France, a major European nation with an independent diplomatic path, in an effort to keep the United States in check.