CGTN: China-France relations full of vitality, potential in new era

Beijing, China / TimesNewswire /  April 7, 2023 – Since diplomatic relations were established 59 years ago, China and France have enjoyed close cooperation in a wide range of areas and have worked in the same direction over the years, making a series of pioneering achievements.


In 2021, the bilateral trade volume between China and France exceeded $80 billion and the figure between China and Europe increased by 27.5 percent, exceeding $800 billion.

The latest statistics from France showed that bilateral trade in goods exceeded the 100-billion-euro ($109.5 billion) mark for the first time in 2022, reaching 101.8 billion euros, a year-on-year increase of 14.6 percent.

Jointly witnessing the signing of a series of important cooperation agreements with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China’s pursuit of high-quality development and high-standard opening up will bring France even broader market opportunities.


Mutual benefit, common development

France is China’s third largest trading partner and third largest source of actual investment in the European Union (EU) while China is the largest trading partner of France in Asia and the seventh largest in the world.

Significant achievements have been made in cooperation between the two countries in the fields of economy and trade, science and technology, aviation and infrastructure.

Infrastructure has been one of the most significant areas of cooperation between China and France. French companies have been involved in several major infrastructure projects in China, such as the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line and the Shanghai metro system.

Xi said the two countries need to stay committed to mutual benefit and common development.

Noting that 2024 will mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France and the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, Xi said the two sides will leverage the full reopening of people-to-people exchanges to promote exchanges in culture, education, language, publishing, film and television and tourism as well as among localities and the youth.

“Cultural exchanges and cooperation are an important bridge to promote people-to-people bonds between France and China,” Macron said at the opening ceremony of the 17th China-France Cultural Spring art festival.

Firm advocates of true multilateralism

Both as firm advocates for a multi-polar world and for greater democracy in international relations, China and France have the ability and responsibility to rise above differences and obstacles, keep to the overall direction of a comprehensive strategic partnership that is stable, mutually beneficial, enterprising and dynamic, and practice true multilateralism for global peace, stability and prosperity, Xi said in his conversation with Macron.

France is the first major Western country to officially establish diplomatic relations with China, and also the first major Western country to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership and conduct strategic dialogue with China.

“Stability, a defining feature and valued asset of this relationship, should be cherished by both sides,” said the Chinese president.

As two major forces, big markets, and great civilizations in the world, Xi stressed China-EU relations bear on the wellbeing of both sides and the stability and prosperity of the world at large.

Starting operations in 2011, the China-Europe freight train services have witnessed booming development, especially since the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. It has established a new logistics channel between Asia and Europe that operates around the clock.

So far, the train services have grown into an exemplar of win-win cooperation and common prosperity, and brought tangible fruits to people along the routes.

Taking this year’s 20th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership as an opportunity, China will work with the EU to resume exchanges and dialogues on all fronts, reinforce friendship and cooperation as the keynote of China-EU relations, explore a supply chain partnership featuring stability and mutual trust, and deliver benefits to both sides, said Xi.

Noting that a new round of meetings will be held this year for the three high-level dialogue mechanisms, including the strategic dialogue, the economic and financial dialogue, and the dialogue on people-to-people exchanges, Xi called on both side to make good use of their all-round, high-level communication channels to maintain close communication.

“France will not pick sides. Instead, France calls for unity and cooperation to keep relations stable between major countries,” said Macron, voicing France’s willingness to contribute to the growth of EU-China relations.


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