Ecns wire

Insights | French scholar encourages youths to visit, understand, invest in China

2024-05-08 ECNS App Download

By Lin Zhuowei

(ECNS) — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Paris on May 5, kicking start his six-day state visits to three European countries, upon invitation of leaders of France, Serbia, and Hungary. This is the first visit to Europe by the Chinese President in five years.

"I think the first message is peace as the state visit of President Xi to France is occurring in the context of huge tensions," said Sébastien Drochon, senior fellow of the Schiller Institute in France, in an exclusive interview with China News Network.

(Sébastien Drochon, senior fellow of the Schiller Institute in France. Photo provided to China News Network)
(Sébastien Drochon, senior fellow of the Schiller Institute in France. Photo provided to China News Network)

More generally, the visits demonstrated the dedication of China and Europe to peace and cooperation, Drochon pointed out.

France has a tradition of independent decision-making in diplomatic policies, the expert stressed, as the spirit of independence also played a big role six decades ago when France decided to become the first Western country to build diplomatic ties with China.

Commitment to dialogue is another message sent from the visits, which, together with cooperation, is exactly what it takes to promote orderly multi-polarization of the world, according to the analyst.

The personal friendship between state leaders, and in this case Macron and Xi, has played out to be a catalyst for an "entente", Drochon noted.

"There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul," President Xi quoted French novelist Victor Hugo in a public speech. In Drochon's opinion, this cultural interaction has promoted people-to-people exchanges and civilization dialogues, leading to peace, stability, and common prosperity.

"We (French people) need to be more open, and it's very interesting that the young generation thinks more with openness. So, we have to be sure that the young generation can have the magnitude and the freedom to go to China, to understand China, and to invest in China," said Drochon when looking into the future of the bilateral relationship.

"There is a lot of potential between the two countries," said Drochon, "it is not only between France and China, but also how both countries can play a big role in the development of the world, and it will be beneficial for all countries.”

Drochon also urged France and other European countries to "turn to the Global South" through enhanced cooperation to help them gain a larger voice on the international stage.

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