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Macron to visit China next week

China's President Xi Jinping Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron is to visit China for three days, arriving on 8 January. It will be the first visit to the country by a European Union leader since President Xi Jinping secured a second five-year term at the ruling Communist Party's 19th national congress.

"We hope that [Macron's] visit will help enhance political mutual trust and strategic communication between the two sides," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said when announcing it on Tuesday.

The pair, whose countries are both UN Security Council members, are expected to discuss the conflict in Syria and North Korea's nuclear programme.

In his televised New Year address to the nation, Macron called for Europe to "become that economic, social, environmentally friendly, scientific power that will be able to face China and the United States".

Xi has called for a "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation".

The two have met just once before, at the G20 summit in Hamburg last July.

The last state visit by a French president to China was by Macron's predecessor, François Hollande in October 2015.