Sarkozy Accepts Invitation to Visit China

Following his very first meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the G8 summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he had accepted an invitation to visit China during the latter half of 2007. His visit will be timed to coincide with the announcement of a number of large economic deals between the two countries. During his joint press conference with Hu, Sarkozy stated that he had called upon China to use its influence to pressure Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to accept the deployment of UN peacekeepers into the Darfur region of Sudan (The Standard, June 9). In a previous telephone conversation with Hu, Sarkozy also emphasized the need for China to utilize its growing international influence, saying, “There will be no solution on the question of Iran, on the question of Darfur, on the question of North Korea, without strong and positive Chinese involvement” (AFP, May 23). While Sarkozy has not threatened to boycott the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in order to pressure China to use its leverage against Khartoum, he is expected to adopt policies that are more critical of China’s trade and human rights practices, unlike those of his predecessor Jacques Chirac.