French party 'can help boost ties'

By Chen Jialu (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-08 07:01

French Socialist Presidential candidate Segolene Royal visits the Forbidden City in Beijing January 7, 2007. [Reuters]

China hopes that the Socialist Party of France will continue to play a positive role in pushing forward the Sino-French strategic partnership.

State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said this yesterday in Beijing while meeting Segolene Royal, the French party's presidential candidate who is bidding to become the country's first woman president this spring.

Tang said Royal's visit to China would help strengthen understanding and increase exchanges between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Socialist Party of France.

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Royal responded that it was in the common interest to develop the bilateral relationship.

Cai Fangbo, the Chinese ambassador to France for most of the 1990s, said the two countries share many common interests that are conducive to the development of ties.

"Both support multilateralism and cultural diversity; and their economies are highly complementary," Cai, now the chairman of the China Association of French Studies, told China Daily.

Cai said Royal's visit would burnish her foreign-policy credentials and bolster her reputation on the international stage ahead of elections. This is only her second trip overseas after being nominated the party's candidate for the poll.

Economic ties are a focus of Royal's visit, during which she is expected to discuss the issue of manufacturing jobs moving overseas, one of the hottest topics in the French election campaign.

She earlier urged French firms to get more involved in China and said France should see the world's fourth-largest economy as an opportunity instead of a threat.

"I want businesses to come to the Chinese market without being afraid," she said on a visit to the construction site of the National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics.

Royal heads a 15-member delegation which arrived in Beijing on Saturday to kick off a four-day visit.

Today, she will meet Vice-President Zeng Qinghong and Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, as well as give a lecture at the China Foreign Affairs University and visit a French telecommunications research center.

She met Wang Jiarui, head of the international department of the CPC, yesterday morning, and toured the Forbidden City.

(China Daily 01/08/2007 page1)

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