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French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech at the Daming Palace in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, January 8, 2018.
Reuters/Charles Platiau
“The future needs France, Europe and China.”
TONGUE IN CHEEK

Macron charmed China—and trolled Trump—by saying “Make our planet great again” in Mandarin

Zheping Huang
By Zheping Huang

Reporter

After Donald Trump announced last summer that he would pull the US out of the Paris climate deal, French president Emmanuel Macron trolled him in a televised address in English, saying, “Make our planet great again.”

Later, Macron’s administration launched a “Make Our Planet Great Again” initiative inviting researchers, entrepreneurs, and NGO workers dedicated to climate change work to relocate to France. So far more than a dozen US-based scientists have been awarded grants worth millions of euros under the program.

Now the French president has taken his rebuke of Trump to a new level. On a three-day visit to China this week, Macron learned to say “Make our planet great again” in Mandarin, and then delivered the line to a Chinese audience in a speech about multilateralism. The feedback? A hearty round of applause, according to journalists at the scene (link in Chinese).

On Monday (Jan. 8) evening, Macron tweeted a video of himself practicing saying 让地球再次伟大 (rang diqiu zaici weida), or “Make our planet great again” in Mandarin. In the video, Macron is seen repeating the phrase bit by bit after his translator, and taking notes carefully on his transcript.

Earlier in the day, he delivered an hour-long speech to Chinese entrepreneurs, scholars, and college students in the northwestern city of Xi’an, a gateway to the ancient Silk Road. In his speech, Macron called on China and France to work together to curb climate change. “The future needs France, Europe, and China,” Macron is quoted as saying. As he uttered “Make our planet great again” in Chinese, the audience burst into applause.

Macron also urged Europe to take part in China’s Silk Road revival plan, a trillion-dollar infrastructure project called “One Belt, One Road.” But he warned that the plan should be carried out “within the framework of a balanced partnership” between China and Europe.

Macron is the first European leader to visit the country since the Chinese Communist Party held its twice-a-decade national congress, which saw president Xi Jinping further consolidate his power at the start of his second five-year term. 

Macron also met with Xi in Beijing on Monday evening, and offered him a horse of the elite French Republican Guard as a present.

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