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Chinese, French presidents agree to strengthen ties, boost cooperation


 , Updated 15:23, 07-May-2024
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, May 6, 2024. /Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, May 6, 2024. /Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, May 6, 2024. /Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to consolidate ties and boost cooperation in more fields after their talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday.

Noting the world is going through a transformation not seen in a century, Xi stressed that China and France should uphold independence and jointly prevent a "new Cold War" or bloc confrontation. He added that the two countries should pursue win-win cooperation and jointly oppose decoupling and cutting off supply chains.

Win-win cooperation

Xi said that China is striving for balance in bilateral trade and is ready to import more high-quality products from France and enable the "French farm to Chinese dining table" mechanism to deliver more practical outcomes. He also expressed hope that France exports more high-tech products with high-added value to China. 

As China and France have already cooperated in many traditional areas, such as aerospace and aviation, Xi said the two countries should also step up cooperation on nuclear energy, innovation and finance, and expand cooperation in emerging areas such as green energy, smart manufacturing, bio-medicine and artificial intelligence (AI). 

China slashed all restrictions on foreign investment in the manufacturing sector in October last year and has pledged to expand market access in the service sector such as telecommunications and medical services. Xi said China welcomes investment by more French companies and expressed hope that France will provide a good business environment for the investment and cooperation by Chinese companies in France.

People-to-people exchange

Xi also emphasized people-to-people exchanges between China and France. He said China will extend the short-stay visa-exemption policy for citizens from 12 countries including France to the end of 2025, bring the total number of French students in China to more than 10,000, and double the number of young Europeans on exchange programs to China in the next three years. 

Xi added that China supports France in hosting a great Paris 2024 Olympic Games and China will send a strong delegation. 

China is ready to deepen cooperation with France in areas such as climate response and biodiversity. China supports France in hosting a successful UN Ocean Conference and encourages partnerships between relevant national parks and natural reserves of the two countries. China is also willing to increase dialogue and communication with France in areas including AI governance and the reform of the international financial system, said Xi.

Closer ties

President Macron applauded the France-China friendship and productive cooperation on cutting-edge technologies and global issues such as climate change and marine biodiversity. He said that the two sides signed many cooperation agreements during President Xi's visit, which again showcased the potential and prospects of France-China cooperation. 

France would like to have closer economic ties and multilateral communication and collaboration with China and work for more outcomes in the France-China strategic partnership, Macron said. He added that France will export more agricultural products to China and at the same time, will continue to open its market to China and will not adopt discriminatory policies against Chinese companies. 

The French president also noted that France will step up cooperation with China in areas such as aerospace and aviation, nuclear energy for civilian use, and jointly hold the France-China Year of Culture and Tourism activities. France welcomes the Chinese delegation to the Paris Olympic Games. France is willing to stay in close communication and cooperation with China on global issues including climate change, biodiversity protection, AI, and jointly uphold multilateralism, the UN Charter and international law, said Macron.

International issues

The two sides also had an in-depth exchange of views on international and regional issues of mutual interest, including the Ukraine crisis and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Xi stated that China and France, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, should speak out for a peaceful settlement of hotspot issues and contribute to a world of lasting peace and common security. China will work with France to advocate, on the occasion of the Paris Olympic Games, a cessation of hostilities around the world during the Games, added Xi.

The two sides issued four joint statements- on the situation in the Middle East, on AI and global governance, on biodiversity and oceans, and on agricultural exchanges and cooperation. Close to 20 bilateral cooperation documents were signed in such areas as green development, aviation, agrifood, commerce and people-to-people exchanges.

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