French President Emmanuel Macron is set to embark on a visit to China next week, which poses a challenge to his dual role as a global statesman and a domestic leader grappling with ongoing pension protests.
Macron’s recent decision to pass contentious pension legislation through parliament had led to violent protests in French cities, which have adversely affected his diplomatic agenda, including the cancellation of a state visit by Britain’s King Charles.
Macron’s trip to Beijing coincides with the 11th nationwide strike by French unions, as he aims to position himself as a European leader and push for a resolution of the war in Ukraine.
However, Chinese observers are wary of Macron’s efforts to curtail Russia’s arms supply from China, which might lead to France’s withdrawal from the US-led Western bloc.
Amidst escalating tensions between the US and China, Europe is seeking to establish its own identity in international relations, which could work in Macron’s favour during his China visit.