Stronger China-France ties will help safeguard multilateralism

Editor's note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs." The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. France was the first major Western power to establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China.

President Emmanuel Macron's presence at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai and his state visit to China demonstrate how much he values this relationship. During his meeting with the French leader, President Xi Jinping proposed that the two countries advance their partnership.

The two sides released an action plan focused on enhancing political mutual trust, cooperation on large-scale projects, and the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the European Union's Euro-Asian connectivity strategy.

The plan sketches out a path for future cooperation between China and France, and the people in both countries are likely to see concrete results in the near future.

China and France, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, share similar stances when it comes to upholding independent foreign policies, opposing unilateralism and trade protectionism, safeguarding multilateralism, and resolving political issues through dialogue.

During President Macron's visit, the two sides issued the Beijing Call for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change, reaffirming their support for the Paris Agreement and their commitment to reinforcing international action on climate change.

The two countries also expressed their solidarity when it comes to defending multilateralism and free trade, and strengthening cooperation in multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations and the Group of 20.

During President Macron's visit, China announced that it will issue euro-denominated sovereign bonds in Paris worth four billion euros, an important move by Beijing to support Paris in its role as an international financial center. It will also deepen China's financial cooperation with France and the European Union more broadly.

Companies from China and France also signed 24 contracts, and both sides pledged to make decisive progress within a short time on an investment deal in line with an agreement signed between China and the European Union.

President Macron also inaugurated the Shanghai outpost of Paris's Centre Pompidou during his stay in the city. The year 2021 will be celebrated as the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism in both countries.

The resulting cultural, tourism, and youth exchanges will help to promote deeper ties between the people in the two countries. The French president's trip also saw the signing of a joint statement on the "EU-China Agreement on the Cooperation on, and Protection of, Geographical Indications", which will result in more demand for high-quality products on both sides.

Taken together, these steps will undoubtedly add new energy into the relationship between China and France. As major powers, China and France have a special responsibility to work together, enhance their partnership, and properly handle their differences so as to better safeguard multilateralism and help build an open, inclusive, and balanced world order.

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