PARIS, March 26- France rolls out the red carpet for China’s leader Tuesday as he arrives for a nostalgia tinged trip expected to include the signing of some blockbuster business deals.
President Xi Jinping and his glamorous wife Peng Liyuan will be given VIP treatment on their four day visit to France with a state dinner in Paris and a concert at the Versailles palace, as the two countries celebrate 50 years of full diplomatic ties.
Xi on Tuesday paid tribute to the then French leader Charles de Gaulle’s 1964 decision to break ranks with the United States and recognise the People’s Republic, paving the way for the communist state’s global acceptance.
“It established for the international community an example of peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation between two countries with different social systems,” Xi wrote in an article published in French daily Le Figaro.
Xi said France was the first Western country to engage in civil nuclear energy cooperation with China, sign scientific and technical accords with Beijing and launch direct flights to the country.
His trip, he added, would be about celebrating the long standing friendship but also “about construction of the future and lifting our relationship onto a new level”.
Although France is far behind some of its European neighbours, most markedly Germany, in terms of trade and investment links with China, it has recently been working hard to catch up and Xi’s visit is expected to see a raft of deals struck.