Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday held a phone conversation with Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron, exchanging views on bilateral relations, origins tracing of COVID-19 and the situation in Afghanistan.
During the conversation, Wang noted that under the strategic guidance of the two countries' heads of state, China-France relations have been developing healthily and steadily in general, expressing hope that the two sides will strengthen bilateral high-level exchanges, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, and promote the steady progress of the bilateral relations to a new level.
China is happy to see the European Union (EU) grow stronger, said Wang, stressing that China and Europe are partners rather than rivals, and their common interests far outweigh differences. Strengthening dialogue between China and Europe is beneficial to both sides and the world at large, he added.
Noting that France is a major country with independent tradition and strategic thinking, Wang expressed hope that with a focus on the common long-term interests of China and Europe, France will take the opportunity of holding the rotating presidency of the EU to push China-EU relations to eliminate interference, overcome difficulties, rise steadily and regain vitality.
The United States has recently forced through its intelligence community to carry out origins tracing of COVID-19, which was an obvious anti-science act and a typical example of politicizing the origins tracing, Wang said, adding that the U.S. side was aimed at shifting the blame for its own anti-epidemic failure to China.
The international community should continue to resist and oppose the U.S. approach, Wang said.
For his part, Bonne said France is committed to developing France-China relations, and is ready to strengthen high-level exchanges with China and promote the resumption of cooperation and personnel exchanges in various fields against the backdrop of regular epidemic prevention and control.
France will take its rotating presidency of the EU as an opportunity to promote cooperation between Europe and China in the fields of public health, environment, climate and trade, he said.
France believes that the origins tracing should be conducted scientifically to avoid the recurrence of another pandemic, said Bonne, adding that the pressing task for the international community is to strengthen solidarity, deepen cooperation in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine distribution, and promote the recovery of the world economy as soon as possible.
The French side appreciates China for providing a large amount of vaccines to the international community, and hopes that France and China will jointly carry out cooperation in Africa, he said.
The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan.
There are three lessons worth learning from the situation in Afghanistan, Wang said. Firstly, it is unacceptable to claim hegemony, and no matter how strong a country is, it should respect other countries, as well as fairness and justice. Secondly, military intervention is unacceptable, and political solutions to hot issues should be upheld. Thirdly, wishful thinking of "democratic transformation" is unacceptable, and each country's development path, which is suited to its national conditions, should be respected.
The United States suddenly withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, but it cannot shirk its responsibility, Wang said.
What is pressing now is to provide urgently needed economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, so as to make up for the huge damages done to Afghan national development and people's well-being, Wang said.
Wang said effective measures should be taken to help Afghanistan achieve a smooth transition and avoid a wave of refugees and migrants that will bring bitter consequences to neighboring and European countries.
It is also necessary to get rid of the old habit of unilateral sanctions, Wang added, saying that it is unwise and hardly effective to freeze Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves in the United States and exert pressure on Afghanistan at every turn.
For his part, Bonne said France and China share common interests in maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan, adding that France is ready to strengthen coordination with China within the frameworks including the United Nations Security Council to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan at an early date.