During his visit to Europe, Xi Jinping raises an old complaint

TYour Excellency the residents Serbia’s area is less than one-third the size of Beijing. China’s trade with the Balkan country represents less than forty of its trade with Germany. However, for China’s ruler Xi Jinping, Serbia is of great importance. He is a rare close friend on a continent where wariness of China has become the norm. It also happens that the country’s capital, Belgrade, witnessed a crucial moment in the development of Chinese nationalism that despises the West. Twenty-five years ago US bombs struck the Chinese embassy there (pictured), killing three people. On his first visit to Europe since 2019, Xi held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, hoping to convince him and his allies that China and its high-tech products are beneficial to them. On May 7-8, in Serbia, Xi will use the anniversary of the bombing to make another point: that the Western-led system is bad and must be changed.

The world has changed dramatically since Xi Jinping’s previous visit to Europe. It was ravaged by a pandemic, preventing Xi from venturing abroad for more than two and a half years. (Even in 2023, after China lifted its tough restrictions aimed at eliminating the coronavirus, Xi rarely left the country.) Russia – China’s “borderless” partner – launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, plunging Europe into its greatest security. Crisis since the Cold War. Under President Joe Biden, America has intensified its technology war with China with the aim of limiting its access to advanced equipment. The European Union has begun talking about the need to “de-risk” its relationship with China. Amid accusations that China is flooding Western markets with goods at prices below their real value, calls for retaliation have increased in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

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