China, France pledge closer ties

2024-04-02 08:26:33China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Premier Li Qiang (right) meets on Monday with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY)

Premier Li Qiang (right) meets on Monday with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY)

Nations to build more foresighted, stable relations

Stephane Sejourne, France's new minister for Europe and foreign affairs, undertook a packed schedule on Monday in Beijing during his first visit to China in his current post.

As a sign of the value that Beijing places on its ties with Paris, both Premier Li Qiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met separately with him.

Li told Sejourne that Beijing expects the stability of China-France relations to contribute to the respective development of the two countries and "inject certainty into the world's development".

Beijing looks to deepen practical cooperation with Paris in conventional areas, as well as in green energy and advanced manufacturing, to "better realize mutual benefits and a win-win situation", Li said.

The premier also talked with Sejourne about China-European Union economic and trade relations.

He expressed his hope that France will actively push the EU to follow the laws of economy and the rules of the market, and to properly address the concerns of both sides through consultation.

Sejourne said Paris adheres to independence and self-reliance, opposes bloc confrontation, economic decoupling and disruptions of production and supply chains, and firmly adheres to the one-China policy.

France is willing to deepen exchanges and cooperation with China in various fields and promote greater development of the two nations' comprehensive strategic partnership, he added.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.

As part of the recent and frequent high-level exchanges, Foreign Minister Wang met with Sejourne in Munich and visited France in February.

Analysts said the visit of the French foreign minister comes amid the chaos of the current international situation and rising divides in the global community, and the two countries, as major countries, should work together to be a stabilizer for the world.

Yu Jiang, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, noted that as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and France have transcended bloc confrontation and are both committed to the "two-state solution" to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

"The two countries have contributed to the reform and construction of the global governance system, setting a model for exchanges and cooperation between countries with different historical backgrounds, cultural traditions and political systems," Yu said.

Earlier on Monday, the two foreign ministers held talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and met with reporters on the sidelines.

At the media briefing, Wang announced that the two sides agreed to "build China-France relations to be more stable and foresighted in strategic perspective".

Wang said Beijing and Paris agreed to play a leading role in four areas: international solidarity, innovative development, openness and win-win situations, and dialogue among civilizations.

"The two sides agreed to provide more convenience for people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and to deepen cooperation in areas such as science, education, sports and cultural heritage preservation," Wang said.

France is China's third-largest trading partner within the European Union, and China is France's top trading partner in Asia and seventh-largest in the world. In 2023, bilateral trade reached $78.9 billion.

China will create more convenience for enterprises from various countries, including France, and "it is also believed that France will provide a fair, just and predictable business environment for Chinese companies to invest in France", Wang said.

Sejourne told Wang during their meeting that Paris advocates openness and cooperation. On economy and trade, France is committed to properly handling differences through consultation, he added.

When asked by a reporter about the EU's seeking "de-risking "regarding China, Wang noted that this year, China and the EU have resumed interactions at all levels. He said cooperation in various fields is in full swing, "the EU's rational knowledge of China is increasing, and its willingness to cooperate with China is increasing".

"Some insightful minds in Europe are also soul-searching and believe that decoupling from China carries real risks," he added.


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