The frequency of the exchanges we are seeing at the moment between China and European Union is probably unprecedented in the history of their relations.
At the beginning of last month, Premier Wen Jiabao visited four countries in Europe, and attended the Asia-Europe Meeting and the China-EU Summit in Brussels. He also had a surprise meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Wen made it clear that currency, trade and protecting intellectual property rights are the main concerns of the EU member states in their relations with China.
Not that China is the only one making the visits, many European heads of state have been using the Shanghai Expo as the pretext to visit China as they seek greater dialogue and closer economic and trade ties with China in order to help them "walk out of woods" in the post-crisis era.
China and Germany signed 10 cooperation agreements during Merkel's visit to China in July, and during Wen's visit to Greece and Italy last month he signed multibillion agreements. This time Hu will visit Portugal, which is among the five EU countries hardest hit by the public debt crisis.
It is true that Beijing is using such intensive exchanges to gain the political trust of European countries and their understanding of China's strengths and challenges. However, there can be no doubt that some European countries feel threatened by China's rapid economic growth and misunderstandings are still an issue.
Hu's trip to Europe is expected to promote the long-term and stable development of comprehensive strategic relations between China and France that reflect the changing times.
His visit will also seek to enhance mutual understanding and trust, and a partnership of equality and mutual respect between the two countries.
It is highly likely that global financial regulation and climate change will be high on the agenda during Hu's three-day visit to France, as the visit is taking place just before the G20 leaders meet in Seoul on Nov 11-12 to discuss global economic governance and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancn, Mexico, which begins on Nov 29. China is trying to help readjust the global order and governance to better reflect the current reality of world affairs and better serve developing countries. Through its arduous efforts in recent years, some real progress has been made in this.
However, this kind of momentum requires the channels for dialogue remain open, and this can only be achieved if the EU countries respect Beijing's core interests and major concerns.
Since France reaffirmed opposition to "Tibet independence" in a joint statement issued at a sideline meeting during the G20 London Summit in April 2009, high-level exchanges have regained momentum and the two countries have once again strengthened bilateral cooperation on various issues.
Both parties have something to gain from continued exchanges and improved relations, but the EU countries need to respect China's national interests.