Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

Sino-French ties at 60: Navigating challenges, embracing opportunities

Lu Shaye

 , Updated 20:09, 30-Jan-2024
Sino-French ties at 60: Navigating challenges, embracing opportunities

Sino-French ties at 60 Navigating challenges, embracing opportunities.mp3


Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision makers to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Lu Shaye is China's ambassador to France. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In traditional Chinese culture, the 60th anniversary is particularly significant as it marks the completion of a cycle and renewal.

Sixty years ago, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle, guided by their extraordinary strategic vision, made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level between China and France, thereby reopening the door to exchanges between the two countries. Over the past 60 years, if Sino-French relations have maintained enduring stability and stayed on course amid international uncertainties, it is notably due to the commitment to the initial engagement made at the establishment of diplomatic relations, namely "independence, mutual understanding, strategic vision and win-win cooperation."

Independence is a common characteristic of the two great nations, China and France: We both reject conformity, actively advocate for multilateralism, a multipolar world, and the democratization of international relations. Mutual understanding is the cornerstone of Sino-French relations: Mutual respect and the equal treatment between the governments and peoples of both countries have laid a crucial foundation for anchoring bilateral relations in stability and longevity. Strategic vision is the fundamental guarantee of the development of Sino-French relations: Successive generations of Chinese and French leaders have consistently sought and practiced overcoming bloc confrontations, preserving common ground beyond differences, peaceful coexistence, and mutually beneficial cooperation. Win-win cooperation constitutes a powerful driving force for the sustained development of Sino-French relations. Indeed, Sino-French cooperation is a win-win cause, benefiting the peoples and businesses of both countries.

The year 2024 is also the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. People-to-people and cultural exchanges have become a new guarantee for peace and stability in the world.

In Chinese, the character "ren," meaning "human," takes the form of two strokes supporting each other. State-to-state relations fundamentally rely on people-to-people relations. The Chinese and French peoples harbor deep admiration and mutual respect and are strongly drawn to each other's exceptional culture. Indeed, since the 17th century, the French, and Europeans in general, considered it a luxury pleasure to wear silk clothing, use Chinese porcelain, and savor Chinese tea. In the works of French Enlightenment thinkers and the decorations of the Palace of Versailles, many elements of Chinese culture can be found. On the other hand, the enthusiasm of the Chinese intellectual and popular circles for France is also undeniable: Voltaire and Rousseau have influenced Chinese political thoughts in modern times, while French literature masters such as Moliere, Balzac, and Victor Hugo are known throughout China.

The China-France Year of Culture and Tourism in 2024 will boast many events, such as co-productions of concerts and operas, gastronomic festivals presented by Chinese and French chefs, exhibitions on Chinese ceramic culture, Tang Dynasty antiquities, and French decorative arts, as well as ballet performances by the National Opera of Bordeaux. Through these diverse forms of cultural exchanges, we hope that the Chinese will discover the richness of France's cultural heritage, and the French will experience the new dynamics of contemporary China.

Chinese and French musicians participate in a concert to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the China Cultural Center in Paris, France, January 25, 2023. /Xinhua
Chinese and French musicians participate in a concert to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the China Cultural Center in Paris, France, January 25, 2023. /Xinhua

Chinese and French musicians participate in a concert to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the China Cultural Center in Paris, France, January 25, 2023. /Xinhua

In the economic and commercial domain, it can be said that cooperation between China and France faces both opportunities and challenges.

France is currently China's third-largest trading partner and the third-largest source of real investments in the European Union, while China is France's fourth-largest trading partner globally and the largest outside the EU. Sino-French cooperation in investment in aerospace and aviation, civil nuclear energy, and agri-food sectors is progressing steadily, with examples such as the launch of the Airbus A320's second final assembly line project in Tianjin in 2023 and STMicroelectronics' development of a joint venture to produce silicon carbide chips in Chongqing. In emerging sectors such as the digital economy, green energy, and the senior economy, Sino-French cooperation is also very promising.

China's door will open even wider. In 2024, France will be the guest of honor at the 7th China International Import Expo and the China International Fair for Trade in Services. We invite French companies to dive deep into the Chinese market and export more high-quality products, technologies, and services to both Chinese and global markets, enjoying the development opportunities of China and bringing new impetus to global development. At the same time, openness should be a "two-way street," not a "one-way street." We hope that our two countries will continue to advocate for openness, concrete results, and win-win cooperation, jointly safeguarding the stability and resilience of industrial and supply chains between China and France, and between China and Europe.

The 60th anniversary marks the diamond jubilee in Western culture and marks the completion of a cycle in the Chinese lunar calendar. Whether it be the indestructible diamond or the renewal of time, this anniversary carries our best wishes for Sino-French relations to build on their initial commitment and go even further.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

Search Trends