Foreign and Military Affairs

Beijing awaits new French ambassador

By Ai Yang (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-02-21 07:59
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BEIJING - Sylvie Bermann, the first female ambassador of France in a major country, is to be posted to China in March.

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The new ambassador, who speaks Chinese and has 33 years of experience as a diplomat, will fill the vacancy in Beijing four months after former French ambassador to China Herve Ladsous finished his term last November.

Bermann is expected to commence her posting at the beginning of March. The 57-year-old is also the first female ambassador to China from France since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1964.

Majoring in history, Bermann graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and holds a higher diploma in Chinese, according to French media reports.

In her last job, she was director of the United Nations and international organizations at France's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, reports said.

According to the Oriental Morning Post in Shanghai, the new ambassador has traveled to China many times for business.

Ma Shengli, a researcher at the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily that the new ambassador is coming to China at a time when bilateral relations are becoming closer. "Sino-French ties are getting warmer and more practical, and mutual respect has also been upgraded to a new level," he said.

The two countries shared some unpleasant experiences in 2008, when protesters in Paris tried to disturb the Beijing Olympics torch relay, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in December that year.

Despite those events, Ma said with China's growing global economic role and France's presidency over the G20 this year, more cooperation between Beijing and Paris is likely.

When President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to France last November, he was greeted by Sarkozy at the airport, a gesture regarded as rare.

The two leaders are expected to meet again in March, this time in China, where a high-profile international seminar on the reform of international monetary system is being prepared.