Speaking Of Asia

Mr Xi Jinping goes to Europe: Making inroads is a strategic imperative for Beijing

Making inroads in Europe commercially and diplomatically is a strategic imperative for Beijing, especially given the boulders rolling into its path in Asia

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It was said of the late American Richard Nixon that as his presidency waned under the weight of scandal, he often used to find relief in overseas trips. To be fawned over as the world's most powerful man by host nations often provided welcome relief from the pressures he was under back home, with the Watergate investigation closing around him.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is no Dick Nixon. Having allowed himself the option of being president for life - true, some see that gambit as a sign of his weakness rather than strength - he clearly is in no immediate danger of losing his position either.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2019, with the headline Mr Xi Jinping goes to Europe: Making inroads is a strategic imperative for Beijing. Subscribe