G20 offers platform for China, France to discuss global issues

Updated: 2013-09-04 20:46

By Li Xiang (chinadaily.com.cn)

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The upcoming Group of 20 Summit in St Petersburg is expected to provide a vital platform for top leaders of China and France to exchange views on pressing international issues including the Syrian crisis, said a senior French politician.

"The issue of Syria will be one of the subjects in the bilateral discussion between China and France. The discussion won't be easy, but it is a good way to explain the French position and why it is in favor of such strategy," Jean-Pierre Raffarin, vice-president of the French Senate and former French prime minister, told China Daily.

Raffarin also noted that French President Francois Hollande should take advantage of the G20 meeting to discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the building of a multipolar world.

"I expect President Xi to send a strong and responsible message to the world on issues of common concerns as China's interest already binds to the interest of the rest of the world," he said.

"We need to make sure that we share the same vision of the world. The summit will provide an opportunity for the leaders to see and show that they are thinking in the same way for the vision of a multipolar world," he added.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius recently reiterated the French desire to seek deeper engagement and closer cooperation with China ahead of the G20 Summit.

"Nobody can predict what will happen to China in the future as the past 20 years have been very complicated. However, one thing is certain: China will be a dominant global player in the future," Fabius said in a 40-minute speech at a conference in Poitier, a small town in central west France.

"If we do not want to be sidelined from the international scene, it is our duty to maintain and develop our relationship with China," he said.

In his speech, Fabius quoted former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's strategy of "maintaining a low profile and biding one's time" and said "time seems to have come to China" as it is predicted to become the world's largest economy by 2025.

Fabius said France is willing to see China return to its rightful position in the world and is keen to work with China to build a multipolar world to address common challenges such as stability and sustainable growth and development.

But the French Foreign Minister also warned about potential conflicts that France and China may have, including the competition among companies and the reduction of carbon emission.

Raffarin said the West needs to build a new partnership with China that reflects the changes in the balance of power.

"Changes including reforms toward a greener and more inclusive growth are taking place in China, and these changes will have a significant impact on the relations between Asia and the West. So we must also anticipate changes in our own strategies," he said.



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Sept 13: Attend the 13th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.


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