| GEO World|
| Sarkozy seeks to bury the hatchet in China|
| Updated at: 0258 PST, Wednesday, April 28, 2010|
XI'AN: French President Nicolas Sarkozy begins a visit to China on Wednesday aimed at reinvigorating ties tested two years ago over Tibet and at winning support from Beijing on new Iranian sanctions.
The French president, making his second state visit to China, will meet the country's top leaders including his opposite number Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing before heading to Shanghai for the start of the World Expo.
Sarkozy -- who will be accompanied by his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and a delegation of top ministers -- was to begin his visit in the ancient capital of Xi'an, home to the famed terracotta warriors.
He was to go on to Beijing, kicking off the official part of his trip by meeting Hu and addressing the media later in the day.
"China attaches great importance" to Sarkozy's visit, said a source in Beijing. A source in Paris added that "2010 will be an exceptional year for Franco-Chinese ties," with "a return to unclouded relations".
Paris hopes to win China's support for fresh UN sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, but first has to fully win over Beijing two years after a heated row over Tibet.