President Xi Jinping will use two pandas to break the ice and soften European opposition to a free-trade deal with China during his visit to Belgium. As the first Chinese leader to visit the European Union's headquarters since Brussels established ties with Beijing four decades ago, Xi will also seek to send a message that China is a less confrontational partner, ready to resolve trade disputes.
Xi Jinping was elected General Secretary of the Chinese Communisty Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission at the 18th Party Congress in 2012, replacing Hu Jintao as the top leader of the Communist Party. Xi was elected President in March 2013. Born in 1953, Xi is the son of Xi Zhongxun, a veteran leader of the Party. He graduated from Tsinghua University in 1979 with a degree in engineering.