SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK:French President Emmanuel Macron was joined by Germany’s Angela Merkel and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker for talks in Paris with the visiting Chinese leader which took place against a backdrop of growing tensions caused by Donald Trump’s America.

“Of course there are differences and competition, but it’s positive competition,” Xi told a joint press conference of EU-China relations. “We are advancing together. We shouldn’t let suspicions lead us to be constantly looking backwards.”

The EU and China have both been on the receiving end of Trump’s “America first” nationalism, protectionist trade policies and attacks on international agreements covering global warming, trade and Iran’s nuclear programme.

“Cooperation pays better than confrontation,” Macron declared.

In a joint statement at the end of Xi’s three-day trip to France, the Chinese and French leaders both committed to working together to promote a rules-based international order.

Merkel sounded a note of caution about how much the EU and China could achieve on their own, however.

“There can’t be multilateralism without the United States,” she said.