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French visit a summit of celebrations

Ambassador: Trip to help Europe shape objective, friendly perception of China

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-06 09:57
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Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye in Paris, France, April 12, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping's state visit to France "will be the climax of a series of events celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic relations", said Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye.

During the visit starting on Sunday, Xi will embark on thorough, in-depth strategic communication with French President Emmanuel Macron on China-France and China-EU relations, Lu said.

The visit will help encourage France's commitment to strategic autonomy, openness and cooperation, and will also help Europe "shape a more independent, objective and friendly perception of China", he said.

This is Xi's second visit to France and Europe in five years, and the first leg of the head of state's first trip abroad this year.

The ambassador stressed the need to "cope with the uncertainty of the world through the stability of China-France relations", and to make good use of the all-around and high-level communication channels between the two countries.

The goal is to "make sure ties are always at the forefront of relations between China and Western countries", he said.

In recent years, various departments of the two sides have carried forward the consensus reached by the two heads of state via three major dialogue mechanisms — strategic dialogue; high-level economic and financial dialogue; and high-level cultural exchanges.

France is China's third-largest trading partner and third-largest source of actual investment from the European Union. China is France's largest trading partner in Asia.

Last year, bilateral trade accounted for $78.9 billion despite global trade headwinds, and China's imports from France grew by 5.5 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Wang Wentao, minister of commerce, said in Paris last month that the balance of bilateral trade "has been further improved".

"The two sides are actively exploring the potential for cooperation in emerging areas such as green industry and clean energy," Lu said.

It is important to "safeguard the health and stability of the international economic and trade system through the openness of China-France practical cooperation", and to jointly maintain the stability and resilience of the industrial supply chain, he said.

Beijing welcomes France as the guest country of honor at this year's China International Fair for Trade in Services and the seventh China International Import Expo, he noted.

"I believe there will be more French companies investing, thriving and winning in China," he added, expressing his desire to also see further exchanges in the cultural arena.

The Summer Olympic Games will be held this year in Paris, marking the second time the French capital has hosted the event in the past 100 years.

Lu stated his hope that China-France sports exchanges and cooperation can tap into the Games to go deeper and become more practical, and "drive the bilateral relations to achieve greater development".

Noting that France is a core and major member of the EU, Lu said China-France relations are "an important part of and a powerful engine for China-EU ties".

"China has always managed its EU relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and it regards Europe as a comprehensive strategic partner and an important force in the multipolar world," he said.

It is imperative to reject negative ideas — such as those advocating "de-risking" and "reducing dependence" on China — and to ensure that China-France relations will continue to lead China-EU relations to a stable and far-reaching future, he said.

At the same time, Lu underlined the need to "promote fair and reasonable global governance through the effectiveness of China-France multilateral cooperation".

"China and France will maintain close communication and collaboration in multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations, the Group of 20 and the World Trade Organization, and jointly practice true multilateralism," he said.

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