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Full text of Xi's article published on Le Figaro

2014-03-26 09:35 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

The French paper Le Figaro Tuesday published an article by Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of his three-day visit to France.[Special coverage]

The article, titled Special Friends, Win-win Partners, is translated as follows:

My three-day state visit to France will start today. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. I have chosen this timing to underscore my desire to review our achievements, renew our friendship, chart our future so as to bring the relationship to a new high.

Fifty years ago, in a display of extraordinary strategic vision and unparalleled political courage, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle moved our two great countries to a handshake, setting a fine example in the world for countries with differing social systems to live peacefully together and engage in win-win cooperation. The major and far-reaching impact of the event on international strategic landscape has continued to live on.

-- The past 50 years saw the leaders of our two countries make stronger China-France relations a priority in the respective diplomatic agenda, acting independently and with a global vision, and opening a new page for sound interactions between the world's major countries. France is the first major Western country to have established diplomatic relations with New China at the ambassadorial level. It is also the first major Western country to have established the comprehensive strategic partnership and institutionalized the strategic dialogue with China.

-- The past 50 years saw our two countries conduct multiple pioneering cooperation and constantly enrich the strategic content of bilateral relations. France is the first Western country to engage in civil nuclear energy cooperation with China, the first Western country to sign an inter-governmental science and technology cooperation agreement with China, and the first Western country to open direct flights with China. Now there are nearly 60 flights operating between China and France each week.

-- The past 50 years saw our two countries promote uninterrupted cultural and people-to-people exchanges, bringing the two splendid civilizations together and shortening the distance between the two peoples in their hearts. France is the first country to exchange with China in hosting the cultural year and setting up cultural centers. It is also the first major Western country to conduct youth exchanges with China. Right now, the number of young Chinese studying French totals over 100 thousand, while the number of French studying Chinese over 45 thousand. That number is still increasing steadily.

Confucius once said, "at the age of 50, one knows the mandate of Heaven." China-France relations of the past 50 years have taught us much useful experience and inspirations to maintain our special friendship and make further progress to our mutual benefit. It is our shared belief that mutual respect, mutual trust and treating each other with sincerity are the necessary precondition for the sound and stable growth of China-France relations. Taking pioneering steps while keeping pace with the times is a key asset for China-France relations to always stay ahead in China's relations with Western countries. Mutual benefit, win-win and inclusiveness are the basic point of departure to ensure that the relationship can deliver long-tern gains to the two peoples. Acting independently but ready to seek common ground while shelving differences is the philosophical foundation for the two countries to coordinate and cooperate in international affairs. And taking on global challenges as fellow passengers sharing a common stake is the abiding commitment of the two countries to peace and development of mankind despite international vicissitudes.

[Read more: Chinese president arrives in Lyon for France visit]

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