Three reasons why China-France relations are important
Updated 16:32, 27-Jan-2019
Liu Mingli

Editor's note: Dr. Liu Mingli is a deputy director of Institute of European Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

On the 55th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic relationship, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits France for the 18th session of the consultation of the coordinators for the China-France Strategic Dialogue. Meeting with Wang Yi, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country considers relations with China to be of great importance. We can find that both sides have shown their strong desire to enhance bilateral ties further. 

So, what's the significance of China-France relationship?

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Elysee Palace, January 23, 2019. /Ministry of Foreign Affairs Photo

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Elysee Palace, January 23, 2019. /Ministry of Foreign Affairs Photo

Firstly, France could lead the diplomacy towards China in western countries. France is a country who knows well about China's history and culture and takes pragmatic and visionary policy, which makes it the first western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China 55 years ago. For the time being, French diplomacy is still of great influence in Europe as well as on the global stage. 

With the UK is preparing to leave the EU, France would be more influential in Europe than before. Since President Macron took office, he has initiated a lot of proposals for future development of the EU. France also works closely with Germany on European issues. On January 22nd, the two counties have just signed the Aachen Treaty to update their 1963 post-war reconciliation accord, aiming to give an impulse to European unity. As a nuclear power and permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, France's corporation with China is important to solve global issues like climate change, nuclear non-proliferation as well as regional security.

Secondly, economic corporation serves the interests of both sides. Global economic growth is facing uncertainties, including protectionism and geopolitical risks. The EU, including France, showed signs of slowing down during previous quarters. Maintaining stable trade relations with major partners and exploring new opportunities are important for any country. Last year, the trade volume between China and France reached 60 billion U.S. dollars.

As the biggest emerging economy, China is seeking further reform and opening-up. Just like Wang Yi said during this visit, China is willing to provide a better business environment for foreign companies, including France's. 

In addition, France has shown strong interest in the Belt and Road Initiative with President Macron's visit to Xi'an and Beijing last year. This initiative may help French export and bring opportunities on infrastructure building projects. France can also play a role in financing business within the initiative since Paris is growing as a financial center in Europe under the background of Brexit.

An art exhibition "The Handwork Beauty between China and France" is held in the National Museum, Beijing, January 11, 2019. /VCG Photo

An art exhibition "The Handwork Beauty between China and France" is held in the National Museum, Beijing, January 11, 2019. /VCG Photo

Thirdly, the current situation has injected new impetus into the bilateral relations. France is facing domestic challenges amid "yellow vest" protests against the status quo. Closer cooperation with China would help ease economic pressure on the government. 

For China, some enterprises who invest abroad, like Huawei, are misunderstood and questioned in some countries. Objective views and pragmatic policies from France, who has great influence in the western world as discussed above, may help Chinese companies to compete fairly and serve the global economy.

In general, Sino-French relations have achieved a lot during the past 55 years. And under the current situation, many reasons could be found to bring the ties even closer. 

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