President Xi Jinping holds talks, joint press conference with Macron

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During their meeting, Macron and Xi discussed climate change, Chinese-French relations and Xi's "Belt and Road Initiative" to build railways and other infrastructure across Asia and Europe, state television reported.

"We need a coordinated European approach... that gives China more visibility about our agenda", Reuters quoted the president as saying. "That's why France is in favor of defining strategic sectors where we want to protect investments..."

Xi also said Beijing supported France in playing "a bigger role in the integrity of Europe" - a reference to preserving the 27-nation European Union trading bloc following the shock of Britain's decision to leave.

Macron also made his stance about the BRI clear during his interview with Chinese media.

Beijing has praised Macron's decision to make China his first state visit to an Asian nation.

France was the first western power to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1964, and Mr Xi said Mr Macron's visit to China showed he was "paying high attention to the China-France relationship".

French state-controlled utility group EDF has signed two energy service contracts aimed at reducing the country's carbon dioxide emissions, as French President Emmanuel Macron visits his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, this week in China.

Macron and Xi also saw eye-to-eye on the battle against climate change, with both voicing their commitment to the Paris accord in the face of US President Donald Trump's pledge to withdraw from the pact.

The A320s would be delivered in 2019 and 2020, a French presidency official said on condition of anonymity.

He also said Beijing is for coordinating with France on major worldwide issues in the hope of promoting world stability and prosperity.

Ahead of the ceremony, Chinese online retailer announced plans to sell French goods worth two billion euros (US$2.4 billion) to Chinese consumers over the next two years - including high-end wine and cognac - and spend 100 million euros on French industrial products.

Ninety percent of China's beef imports come now from Brazil, Uruguay, Australia and New Zealand.

The French president, who is travelling with a delegation of 50 businessmen, is hoping to gain more access for French companies to Chinese markets.

TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis reports.