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International relations

Macron, Le Pen and why France's election matters for Xi and Putin

Le Pen urges good Russia relations; Macron says Europe can balance global powers

France will pick either President Emmanuel Macron or far-right challenger Marine Le Pen as its next president on Sunday. The country's future relationship with Russia and China will hinge on the result.(Source photos by AP, Reuters and AFP/Jiji) 

PARIS -- President Emmanuel Macron and far-right challenger Marine Le Pen will face off again Sunday in the second round of the French presidential election. A change of power could alter the political balance in Europe, reshape relations with Russia and China, and affect the position of France in European trade negotiations with the world.

Both candidates are keen on strengthening France's presence in Asia and toughening the tone on China. But their approaches differ: Macron believes Europe is a conduit for counterbalancing global powers, whereas Le Pen says France should maintain good relations with Russia to prevent the formation of a Sino-Russian superpower.

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