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To enrich spirit guiding establishment of China-France diplomatic ties with new features of new era

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, hold talks at Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, May 6, 2024. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, hold talks at Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, May 6, 2024. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

By He Yin, 

Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to France from May 5 to 7 at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. During the visit, the two sides released four joint statements and inked nearly 20 bilateral cooperation documents.

Xi’s visit consolidated traditional friendship, enhanced political mutual trust, built strategic consensus and deepened exchange and cooperation in various fields between China and France. It was of important significance for building a better future of China-France relations and making new contributions to world peace, stability and development.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic relations. For 60 years, China and France have remained devoted friends and win-win partners of each other. The China-France relationship has always been a pacesetter for the relations between China and Western countries. It shows how countries with different cultures, systems and development levels can help each other succeed and make progress together.

Xi paid three state visits to France and Macron also paid three state visits to China. The two heads of state have established solid mutual trust and sincere friendship. Under their strategic guidance, China-France bilateral relations have maintained a sound momentum of growth. The two countries have had effective strategic communication and fruitful practical cooperation, deepened people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and engaged in sound communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. 

The world today is living through accelerating changes unseen in a century, and China-France relationship is at a critical juncture of building on the past and looking to the future. How to promote healthy and stable development of bilateral relations and inject more stability and positive energy into this fast-changing world remains an important issue facing both China and France.

When holding talks with Macron, Xi pointed out that as the world goes through transformation not seen in a century, the two sides should stay committed to independence, mutual understanding, long-term vision, and mutual benefit, which represent the spirit that guided the establishment of their diplomatic ties. 

They should also enrich it with new features of the new era, build a China-France relationship in the new era characterized by mutual trust, stability, commitment to fundamental principles while breaking new ground, and a strong sense of responsibility, Xi added. What he said is of important guiding significance for maintaining the high-level development of China-France relations.

China and France should uphold independence and jointly prevent a new cold war or bloc confrontation. Xi said both China and France value independence as two major countries. Their interactions in the long course of history have released tremendous energy swaying the trajectory of the world. Under the current international circumstances, China and France jointly opposing a new cold war or bloc confrontation would help them stabilize their relations and cope with global uncertainties.

During Xi’s visit to France, he and Macron agreed to stay true to the spirit that guided the establishment of two countries’ diplomatic ties, deepen the high-level mutual trust and cooperation, and strengthen communication and coordination on major international issues, to jointly inject hope into a confused world and explore the way forward for human progress.

China and France should continue to understand each other and jointly promote harmonious coexistence in a colorful world. Although the Chinese and French civilizations, one in the East and the other in the West, have different values and social systems, both are committed to inter-civilization exchanges and mutual learning.

China supports France in hosting a great Paris 2024 Olympic Games. It has decided to extend the short-stay visa-exemption policy for citizens of 12 countries including France to the end of 2025. China supports opening direct flights between Shanghai and Marseilles. China welcomes the participation of France as the country of honor in this year’s China Annual Conference and Expo for International Education. In the next three years, China wants to bring the total number of French students in China to more than 10,000, and double the number of young Europeans on exchange programs to China.

These measures are expected to strengthen the people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and France, build the right perception of each other, and solidify and carry forward the stories of friendship between the Chinese people and the people of France.

China and France should take a long view and work together for an equal and orderly multipolar world. The two countries should always view their relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, so as to promote better development of the China-France relationship and jointly cope with global challenges.

The two sides need to step up coordination in the UN and provide more leadership and support for global governance so as to build an equal and orderly multipolar world. They need to practice true multilateralism, further promote all-round WTO reform, uphold the authority and performance of the multilateral trading regime with the WTO at its core, keep the global economy open, and promote a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization.

During Xi’s visit this time, China and France agreed to deepen cooperation on climate change, biodiversity and other issues, and enhance dialogue in the global governance of artificial intelligence, reform of the international financial system and other fields, which has built greater consensus for promoting global cooperation.

China and France should pursue win-win cooperation and jointly oppose decoupling and cutting off supply chains. After 60 years of development, the Chinese and French economies are now closely intertwined and highly symbiotic. The two sides will strive for upward balance in bilateral trade. They will expand cooperation in agri-food, finance and other sectors, and advance joint R&D and innovation in areas including aviation, aerospace and civil nuclear energy. They will connect their development strategies more closely, and expand cooperation in emerging areas such as green energy, smart manufacturing, bio-medicine, artificial intelligence and third-party markets.

By deepening practical cooperation and digging into the potential of mutually beneficial cooperation, China and France will see better development and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

The two countries have now reached a new crossroads in the development of mankind and face global changes unseen in a century. Against this backdrop, China is ready to enhance all-round exchanges and cooperation with France, bring the China-France relationship to a new stage and make it even more productive, so as to benefit the two countries and the world as a whole.

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