Chinese Chairman Hua Guofeng arrived in Paris, France on Monday (15 October) - marking the first-ever visit to western Europe by a Chinese Communist leader.
Chinese Chairman Hua Guofeng arrived in Paris, France on Monday (15 October) - marking the first-ever visit to western Europe by a Chinese Communist leader. Chairman Hua was greeted by French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing. He will spend six days in France before leaving for West Germany on Sunday, the second of the four countries he will visit, including Britain and Italy.
SYNOPSIS: President Giscard met the Chinese leader, whose trip is considered one of the most symbolic steps China has taken to illustrate its move away from isolationism.
On his arrival Mr. Hua stressed that Western Europe and Asia shared common interests. He said the basic interests of the people of the two continents were closely linked -- and he noted Western Europe's role in current international affairs.
Mr. Hua said that China has long encouraged the European Economic Community's development -- believing it has the potential to offset the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.
Later the two leaders arrived for the first of several meetings at the Elysee Palace. Publicly Mr. Hua made no direct reference to the Soviets and was expected to play down China's anti-Moscow line.
But in private talks with the French President and other Western leaders, Mr. Hua was expected to emphasise Peking's fears about Moscow's intentions toward expansionism. Trade and development projects will also be discussed during his three-week tour, but no new contracts are planned. Mr. Hua said the tour's aim was a better understanding of the realities of modernisation programmes planned for China.
Observers said Chairman Hua's choice of France to begin his tour was a deliberate bow to a diplomatic debt. Many Chinese, including Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping spent years in France during the nineteen twenties. French President Charles De Gaulle was the first Western leader to exchange ambassadors with Peking in 1964, and President George Pompidou was the first Western Head of State to visit Peking in 1973. During his visit the Chinese Chairman will tour agricultural and industrial complexes, telecommunications centres, electronics plants and an oceanological research station.