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Presidents sign up for peaceful world
( 2004-01-28 08:44) (China Daily by Hu Qihua)

Visiting President Hu Jintao and his French counterpart Jacques Chirac signed a joint declaration yesterday, pledging to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries and work for a safer, more diverse and united world.

On the second day of Hu's visit, Chirac held 90 minutes of talks with his Chinese counterpart in the Presidential Elysee Palace and then signed the joint declaration.

Hu, Chirac in talks. [Reuters]

The document, following the one signed between former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Chirac in 1997, was hailed by Hu as "inheriting the past and ushering in the future."

The increasingly mature Sino-French partnership has become an indivisible part of Sino-European relations and Asian-European dialogue, the declaration said.

China and France reiterated they stand for multipolarity, which is believed by the two sides as a proper way to prevent and resolve crisis when facing regional and global threats and challenges.

China and France agree with the necessary reform of the United Nations Security Council aimed at strengthening its ability to deal with various threats and challenges to global peace and stability, said the declaration.

Another highlight of the document is that China and France underline the need to promote and protect human rights in line with the United Nations Charter, by respecting the universality of these rights.

The two countries believe that while taking into account each other's differences, it is the duty of states to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental liberties, the document reads.

During their talks in the morning, the two presidents also exchanged views on strengthening bilateral economic and trade relations.

Chirac said France is willing to work with China in such areas as nuclear energy, aviation and railways, and is ready to transfer key technologies to China to advance localized production so as to achieve new progress in economic and trade ties between the two countries.

Hu also indicated there is still great potential for the two economies.

Beijing-based observers indicated Chinese-French trade relations have not yet reached the level of political relations.

They say France has world-class technology in express railways, aviation, and the civil use of nuclear energy and there is room for further co-operation between the two countries in these fields.

Today, Hu will make a stopover at the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus in the southern French city of Toulouse before his visit to Egypt.

The Chinese president revealed late yesterday that China Southern Airlines recently agreed to buy 21 Airbus aircraft.

According to a survey published in Sunday's edition of the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, 85 per cent of the French public want trade relations to improve between the two countries, and 68 per cent say they have a good impression of China. The survey was conducted last December.

Yesterday afternoon (local time), Hu became the first Asian leader to address the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament.

Hu hailed the sound development of Sino-French relations and called on all peace-loving peoples and nations in the world to join hands in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

Chirac firm on one-China position

Jacques Chirac yesterday reaffirmed his nation's commitment to the one-China policy and its opposition to the Taiwan authorities' planned "defensive" referendum.

Chirac said France condemns any initiative such as the referendum which can appear as aggressive, calling it "irresponsible."

France hopes the Chinese people will resolve the Taiwan question in line with the one-China policy and through constructive dialogue, Chirac said on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations.

Chirac's comments came at a joint media conference in the Elysee Palace with the visiting Chinese president.

Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has proposed referendums on March 20, which Beijing sees as a dangerous move towards independence.

In a joint statement signed by Hu and Chirac, the French Government "confirmed its constant position on there being one China" and stated its opposition to "any unilateral initiative whatsoever, including a referendum which aims to change the status quo by increasing tensions in the straits and leading Taiwan's independence."

Late on Monday, shortly after Hu's arrival in Paris, at private talks with Hu and at a state banquet in honour of the Chinese president, Chirac had called the planned referendum a "grave mistake."

He said there is no doubt that there is only one China and that maintaining stability across the Taiwan Straits is in the interests of all sides.

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