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Xi mourns 'old friend of the Chinese people' Chirac

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AFP Beijing
China's President Xi Jinping has mourned the late French leader Jacques Chirac as "an old friend of the Chinese people", state media reported on Friday.
Chirac died on Thursday at the age of 86 after a long battle with deteriorating health, prompting tributes from across the political spectrum for the charismatic statesman.
The former president was a "world-renowned politician and strategist, and furthermore an old friend of the Chinese people," said a report by CCTV, quoting a condolence message sent by Xi to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
Known for his love of Asian art, Chirac left a deep impression in China, where his death on Thursday evening was the second most commented topic on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
He first visited China in 1978 and was one of the first foreigners to visit the famed terracotta warriors in Xi'an.
In 1997, Chirac became the first French head of state to visit China in nearly 15 years, after tensions over France's arms sales to Taiwan led to a diplomatic chill between Paris and Beijing.
Chirac maintained close ties with Chinese leaders after stepping down from the presidency.
He was received in Beijing by then President Hu Jintao and his predecessor Jiang Zemin in April 2009.

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First Published: Sep 27 2019 | 5:55 PM IST

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