Aiming for Rosier Ties, Xi Wraps Up Europe Visit

The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, received a gift of fine cognac at the Élysée Palace in Paris and was cheered in Belgrade by Serbians waving Chinese flags, albeit most of them were bused-in government workers.

And by the time he left Hungary on Friday at the end of a six-day European tour, the clouds over his country’s relations with the West looked much less dark, at least from China’s perspective.

Mr. Xi told President Emmanuel Macron of France that relations would be “as vibrant and thriving as springtime.” At his next stop, he said the “tree of China-Serbia friendship will grow tall and sturdy.” In Hungary, Mr. Xi told Prime Minister Viktor Orban that their countries were poised to “embark on a golden voyage.”

The Chinese state-run news media, never less than glowing about Mr. Xi, went to strenuous lengths to present his European meetings as a triumph.

There were no breakthroughs on trade, the war in Ukraine or other issues that have soured ties — just a long list of new joint projects that China says it will help finance. Hungary got 18, Serbia dozens more. French companies inked deals on energy, finance and transport projects.

But the red carpet receptions Mr. Xi received in all three countries helped cast a rosier hue on ties between China and Europe, which have only worsened since he last visited five years ago.

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