BEIJING - Chinese President Hu Jintao's ongoing visit to France is expected to become a landmark event in the history of China-France relations and to further enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
With Hu's three-day visit to France, which started on Thursday, the heads of state and top legislators of the two countries have visited each other within one year for the first time.
Earlier this year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Bernard Accoyer, speaker of the French National Assembly, both visited China. Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo has also visited France recently.
It is rare in history to see such frequent exchanges between leaders of the two countries.
It is also remarkable that Hu will meet Sarkozy at least five times during his current stay in France, and the two leaders will hold in-depth consultation on issues concerning bilateral ties and major global affairs.
This unusual frequency signifies the highly strategic and global importance, as well as a new age, of China-France relations.
China and France are both big powers in the world arena, so their relationship has surpassed the spectrum of bilateral ties and attained global significance.
After Hu and Sarkozy's meeting on Thursday, the two countries issued a joint statement, pledging to build a new, mature and stable comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual trust and mutual benefit and with a global perspective.
The China-France comprehensive strategic partnership is manifested first in the political field.
Being both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the two countries share common or similar views on many major international and regional issues and share broad common interests on issues concerning global peace and development.
Global challenges like the financial crisis, nuclear nonproliferation and climate change have become prominent by the day.
China and France are facing common challenges and shoulder common responsibilities, and need to boost mutual trust through dialogue and promote development through cooperation.
The consensus that the two countries reached on the Group of 20 (G20) management mechanism will be conducive to rebuilding world economic growth and the international financial system to cope with the needs of the times.
The strategic partnership is also reflected in the culture aspect. The 2003-2005 China-France Culture Year held in both countries have signaled the start of multidimensional cultural exchanges.
In their joint statement, China and France decided to further boost cooperation in culture, education and science and technology, and encourage long-term and stable cooperative ties between cultural organizations from the two countries. They will also further enhance exchanges and cooperation in radio, movie and television production.
The two sides, meanwhile, vowed to promote the establishment and development of partnership between universities and colleges, and encourage students to study in each other's country. They also agreed to lend support to the promotion of the Chinese language in France and the French language in China.
The significance of the strategic partnership is also shown in the economic field. The two countries, highly complementary economically, have cooperated successfully in areas such as nuclear power, space and aviation and transportation, which vigorously boosted the growth of both economies and benefited the two peoples.
During Hu's visit, China and France are expected to sign a series of trade and economic cooperation deals in space and aviation, nuclear power, railway transportation, energy conservation and environmental protection, new materials and information technology.
In addition, China and France also agreed to make fighting trade protectionism a top cooperative priority in a bid to provide a favorable and equal environment for the growth of both economies.
With the first decade of the 21st century drawing to an end, China and France shall carry forward the pioneering spirit in their development of bilateral ties, and promote the strategic importance of the relations to bring benefit to the Chinese and French peoples.
The two nations, meanwhile, should also join hands to boost the development of international order along a fairer and more rational path.