BEIJING - The number of French students in China is set to increase by 10,000 in the coming five years, President Hu Jintao said during his second state visit to France on Thursday.
Hu and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, also vowed to work together to bring 50,000 Chinese students to France during the coming five years in an attempt to boost the comprehensive strategic partnership between the nations.
With more than 30,000 Chinese students now studying in France, China is among the countries with the most students in France, Sarkozy said.
China will also invite a total of 500 young French people to visit China within the next five years, according to Hu.
The two countries have carried out extensive exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, and science and technology and have enjoyed close communication and coordination on major international issues, said Hu.
The leaders said they would also develop partnerships between the nations' institutions of higher learning and schools, promote each other's languages and strengthen exchanges among young people.
The nations will jointly launch the Chinese and French Language Year in 2011.
Chen Xiaojun is typical of the Chinese students now studying in France. The 26-year-old studied democracy and strategic negotiation at the Universit Paris-Sud 11 between 2008 and 2009.
"The French impressed me with the freedom of their character and I am interested in their history, literature and art," she said. "Increasing numbers of Chinese students are choosing to study such things as art, architecture and fashion design in France."
The Ministry of Education unveiled a comprehensive document in September to encourage more overseas students to study in China.
The move was part of Beijing's 10-year education outline and a component in the county's attempts to promote Chinese culture on a global scale.
The number of international students in China has risen dramatically recently, hitting a record high last year of 240,000, according to statistics released by the ministry earlier.