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Today's world is plagued by terrorism, cultural conflicts and power politics,
French President Jacques Chirac said yesterday.
"You'll live in a changing and complicated world," the French leader told
students during a 25-minute speech delivered to 600 students at China's
prestigious Peking University.
"Facing terrorism, power
politics, cultural conflicts and growing nationalism, we need unification
instead of confrontation," he said.
Peking University President Xu
Zhihong (left) presents French President Jacques Chirac with a duplicate
plaque of the university's predecessor, the Jing Shi Da Xue Tang or
Metropolitan Grand University, yesterday.
"If two persons are of one heart, they are strong enough to break metal,"
said Chirac, quoting a famous Chinese saying to call for unity between China and
his country. That demonstrated his rich knowledge of Chinese culture, students
Chirac reminded Chinese youth of their responsibility for the future of not
only their own country but the whole world.
He said young people in China, especially those seated before him, may decide
the country's future and even change the world.
"I believe many in the audience today will become future leaders in China,"
he said. "Your imagination and decisions will shape China as well as the whole
Chirac said China would become a major power in the future, possibly the
strongest nation in the world, so what happens to China would influence global
politics, economy, culture and environment.
He said France and China should work closely for a peaceful world, especially
when some countries had broken their commitments and become threats to world
"Multilateralism should play a role in solving the North Korea (the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and Iran nuclear issues," he said.
Chirac said Europe and Asia might have similar interpretations of
international affairs, because both two continents boast long histories and
Besides political conflicts, Chirac reminded that the world is also suffering
from global warming, poverty and disease.
He said France had suggested the establishment of an environment organization
under the United Nations, and hoped China would actively respond to the
proposal. He also considered the China-African Summit and France-African Summit
as good times to help Africa's poor.
Answering a student's question about the relationship between sports and
politics, Chirac expressed his support for the French national football team and
expressed his wish that China could be successful in holding the 2008 Olympic
Games and the 2010 World Expo.
Chirac also sent a welcoming message to Chinese students who want to study in
France. He said only 5,000 Chinese students had studied in his country ten years
ago, but the number has reached 25,000 and will exceed 50,000 in the near
Students were impressed by the president's speech and good manner. "His
words, behaviour and politeness showed us the gracefulness of the French
people," said Yang Suo, a junior student. "But it's a pity that the speech is so