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Hu Jintao begins state visit to France

PARIS, Jan 26 (AFP) – Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Paris Monday for a four-day state visit marking the 40th anniversary of Chinese-French relations.

Hu, who arrived at Orly airport south of the capital with his wife and a team of ministers, was greeted by French President Jacques Chirac before being driven to the city centre under high security.

The two leaders were to hold talks at Chirac’s Elysee palace before a state banquet.

 Later events will include a visit to the Eiffel Tower – lit up in red for the week in Hu’s honour – as well as a speech to the French parliament by Hu, meetings with businessmen keen to invest in China, and an inspection of the Airbus headquarters in the southwestern city of Toulouse.

French officials are hoping the visit, although primarily symbolic, will provide an opportunity for boosted trade to China, Asia’s second-biggest economy after Japan.

Human rights activists also plan to hold protests to highlight Chinese repression in annexed Tibet, crackdowns on dissidents and the use of the death penalty.


                                Subject: France news