China-France Relations

China wants closer ties with France, says Yang

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-06 10:14
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PARIS/MUNICH: China is willing to increase negotiation and coordination with France on major international and regional issues, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in Paris on Thursday.

China wants closer ties with France, says Yang
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (left) greets French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Thursday. [Zhang Yuwei]

Yang also met French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace and held talks on bilateral ties.

Bringing New Year's greetings on behalf of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Sarkozy, Yang said there have been two successful meetings between the two presidents in London and New York since last year. During the meetings, the two leaders reached important consensus, providing guidance for the direction of bilateral ties.

The visits of French National Assembly Speaker Bernard Accoyer and Prime Minister Francois Fillon to China last year were fruitful, which vigorously enhanced mutual political trust and pragmatic cooperation in various areas, Yang said, adding that the momentum for China-France ties has been accelerated.

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The foreign minister said France was an influential country in the world, and China always attaches great importance to its ties with France.

China is willing to work with France to intensify high-level visits, deepen mutual political trust, adhere to the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, take care of each other's major concerns, and expand pragmatic cooperation in economy and trade, Yang said.

He said the two countries would hold talks to enhance the strategic significance of the bilateral ties, so as to promote progress of the China-France relationship.

Welcoming Yang's visit, Sarkozy said the current relations between the two countries is sound.

He said France always attaches great importance to relations with China, and highly appreciates the progress China has achieved and the role China has played in international affairs, hoping to further enhance bilateral cooperation in climate change and international finance.

The president reaffirmed France's firm adherence to the one-China policy.

Sarkozy said he is looking forward to attending the Shanghai World Expo, and he believes this event will be as splendid and impressive as the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Yang also met with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner on Wednesday during his two-day visit to France, which is the third leg of his five-nation tour.

Munich conference

Meanwhile the Munich Security Conference opened on Friday with an evening address by Yang, a shift from the meeting's traditional trans-Atlantic focus in a nod to the growing importance of Asia.

The prestigious gathering, in which world leaders and top diplomats talk policy in an informal setting, is also expected to focus on ongoing concerns about Iran's nuclear program, instability in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the development of the A400M transport plane, a seven-nation project through the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company that has been plagued with cost overruns.

Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki would also address the conference.

The annual conference has long been a strategy session for US and European leaders on defense cooperation. But in its 46th year, the forum's organizers want to reflect Asia's growing role on the world stage.

This year, the US delegation appears more modest than in the past, with top officials including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton likely to opt out. White House national security adviser, James Jones, will be the senior US official this year.

The event's chief organizer, Wolfgang Ischinger, has said that trans-Atlantic security will remain the central theme of the conference, but that he has intentionally sought to include Asia.

Besides Yang, senior officials from countries including India and Pakistan are expected to attend.

Ischinger said the organizers also wanted to take on themes like climate change and global energy security.

However, stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan is likely to again be the focus. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Guttenberg are expected to discuss NATO strategy in Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US special representative Richard Holbrooke will also be in the mix among an estimated 300 participants.

US and Russian officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, will have the opportunity to discuss the progress of negotiations on a new arms control agreement to replace the Cold War-era START treaty and further reduce arsenals.

China Daily-AP