Beijing: French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
accompanied by his glamorous wife Carla Bruni, arrived in
China on Wednesday on a three-day visit aimed at smoothening the
bilateral ties rocked by differences over Tibet and conferment
of honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama by Paris.
The French first couple began their visit at western
tourist city of Xian by viewing the famous life-size
terracotta warriors at the tomb of China`s first emperor,
before heading here.
A number of issues are expected to figure in Sarkozy`s
talks with President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders.
He is expected to press the Chinese leaders to back moves by
the UN Security Council`s permanent members to impose
sanctions against Iran.
Both France and China are permanent UNSC members, apart
from the US, Russia and Britain.
Sarkozy is expected to make one more attempt to persuade
Hu, who has not relented much on this issue after his recent
meeting with President Barrack Obama on the sidelines of the
Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
On the bilateral front, the Tibet issue, which caused
strains in ties between the two countries, is expected to
figure prominently in the talks.
After France granted honorary citizenship to the Dalai
Lama in 2008, China hit back by blocking the imports of
French-made Renault cars on safety grounds.
The two countries are also expected to discuss steps to
bolster the bilateral trade, which fell by about 15.6 per cent
last year to about USD 24.6 billion.
The French President will wind up his visit on April 30
in Shanghai, where he is scheduled to visit the world`s
largest commercial fair `Shanghai Expo`.