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Page last updated at 06:00 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 07:00 UK

Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni in China visit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, right, arrive at the museum of terracotta warriors in Xian, China, 28 April 2010
The couple paid a private visit to the museum of terracotta warriors in Xian

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni are in China on a visit aimed at smoothing bilateral relations.

They visited the life-size terracotta warriors at the tomb of China's first emperor in the western city of Xian before heading on to Beijing.

The French first couple will also visit the World Expo in Shanghai.

Mr Sarkozy is expected to press the issues of UN sanctions against Iran in meetings with his Chinese counterpart.

Both France and China are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and analysts say Beijing has been reluctant to press the issue of nuclear sanctions against Tehran, which is a strong trading partner.

Tibet tensions

While the French first couple's trip to China aims to boost trade, which fell last year, its main focus will be to get bilateral relations back on track, says the BBC's Chris Hogg in Shanghai.

Tensions have been high between France and China in recent years over the thorny issue of Tibet's sovereignty.

After a meeting between Mr Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama in 2008, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was granted honorary citizenship of Paris.

Shortly afterwards China blocked imports of French-made Renault cars on safety grounds.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in Dharamsala in India since 1959, when China took full control of Tibet.



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