Chinese president arrives in France for state visit
China's President Hu Jintao landed in Paris Friday for a three-day state visit set to see the signing of billions of dollars in deals for nuclear, aviation and energy technology.
Hu's plane landed as scheduled at 1:30 pm (1230 GMT) at Paris's Orly airport and he descended the exit steps and was embraced by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and greeted by First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
A military band played as Hu crossed the red carpet laid out on the tarmac and guards were lined up to give him military honours. The pair inspected the honour guard and stood for the French national anthem.
Sarkozy and Hu hold their first round of bilateral talks at the Elysee Palace later in the day and will sign major business contracts before a full state dinner.
"China should not be seen as a threat, but an opportunity," Sarkozy said, shortly before heading to the airport.
"We are going to sign very large contracts, we're going to begin very important discussions on the eve of France's taking on the presidency of the G20. It's a very big deal," he said.
The deals are expected to include a purchase by China of Airbus aircraft, nuclear energy deals for French company Areva and a contract between French insurance firm Axa and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
© 2010 AFP