By Peng Dawei, Zhao Li
(ECNS) -- Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin recently said in an exclusive interview with ECNS that the world’s peaceful development cannot be achieved without China, and world civilization would be incomplete without Chinese culture.
He suggested that China and Europe should uphold mutual understanding and respect, strengthen coordination and cooperation, and jointly move towards a "mutually beneficial and positive cycle."
Raffarin pointed out that both the Gallic civilization and Chinese civilization have a long and profound history. Due to the considerable geographical distance, there are inevitable differences between the two civilizations, therefore, China-European communication must be kept in the long term, he added.
Having been in contact with and learning about China for over 50 years, the former prime minister noted that Chinese people have shown remarkable courage in paving the way for modernization, and that China has undergone tremendous changes over these years.
“ I have seen rapidly developing cities, advances in scientific research, and much more. Which nation can undergo such massive changes in such a short period?” he said.
“However, much of this is not widely known,” he continued.
He encouraged the establishment of language learning programs for young generations. “Encouraging the study of Chinese in Europe and promoting the learning of French in Asia and China is of paramount importance. Only through such initiatives can we delve more deeply into mutual understanding,” he said.
After French President Emmanuel Macron paid a state visit to China from April 5 to 7, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the two sides would take the opportunity brought by the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism in 2024 to fully resume exchanges and cooperation in areas of culture, education, tourism, sports and art.
Raffarin emphasized that China occupies a crucial position in the world essential for maintaining global balance. “World peace cannot be maintained without China, and world development cannot be achieved without China. Without the cultural contributions from China, world civilization would also be incomplete,” he said.
Therefore, he believes China and Europe should seek common ground while respecting differences, and expand cooperation on the basis of mutual respect to jointly build a peaceful future.
The 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) is about to commence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Raffarin also shared his insights on joint China-European efforts to address climate change challenges.
He pointed out that the current global situation of climate change is severe and the most urgent task is to implement the Paris Agreement and take concrete actions.
Tackling climate change should be an opportunity to gather global consensus, he believes. "The global community should pacify conflicts and wars, and work together to protect the Earth."
“The international community has reached a consensus on the necessity of protecting the Earth. Whether the youth are from Paris in France, or Shanghai, Suzhou in China, whether they are from Bangalore in India, or San Francisco in the U.S., the younger generation bears the same attitude - if we want to protect humanity, we must protect the Earth,” he said.
“ We can have collaborative projects, share a common vision and let us enter a mutually beneficial and positive cycle,” he concluded.