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Chirac hopes visit strengthens partnership
(Xinhua/ China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-07 23:01

President Jacques Chirac has expressed the hope that his upcoming visit to China would further boost the Sino-French partnership.

"Our partnership is built on a shared view of the world, which is multipolar, respectful to international law and solidarity," said Chirac in a written interview with Xinhua on the eve of a visit which begins Friday.

Chirac said a declaration signed during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to France last January showed "our common will to reinforce our political dialogue and build special ties in the fields of economy, industry and science and technology."

He hailed the all-around Sino-French strategic partnership initiated by him and China's former President Jiang Zemin in 1997.

"In the past seven years, the two countries have built an exemplary strategic partnership. We have made steady progress on the path of mutual trust and mutual respect," said Chirac.

The shared belief in multilateralism has made the two countries hold similar positions on major international issues, Chirac noted.

"China and France hope to work for the world's economic development that is more balanced, more respectful to the people and environment," Chirac said, adding that both countries are committed to the fight against hunger, poverty and epidemics.

The declaration signed last January also stressed the resolve of the two countries to strengthen co-operation in the fields of energy, aeronautics and road transport, which are vital to China's economic development, said Chirac.

"The balanced development of the Sino-French partnership is based on joint ventures and large-scale technology transfers," Chirac said. He added that the French Government and companies are highly mobilized.

About 50 French business leaders, including those from 17 small and medium-sized companies, will accompany Chirac on his visit from today to Tuesday.

Chirac's visit is to coincide with the start of the Year of France in China, during which more than 200 activities will be held to help the Chinese better know about France and its culture. The opening ceremony of the Year of France in China, together with the concert by Jean Michel Jarre, a well-known French musician, will be held on Sunday in Beijing, it was announced yesterday in the Chinese capital city by French and Chinese organizers.

"The great cultural event will have a magnificent start at the square in the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)," Pu Tong, representative of Sun Jiazheng, chairman of the Chinese organizing committee for the Year of France, said yesterday in Beijing.

The Beijing municipal government has adopted various measures to assist the French for the opening concert. The front gate of the Forbidden City has been closed for a dozen days for preparations. This is the first time during the past 80 years for the Forbidden City to close its front gate for a concert performed by foreigners, sources said.

Among the activities to be held for the Year of France are film festivals, photo exhibitions and concerts.

Chirac also hoped that the Year of France will blossom in the festive spirit of innovation and creativity and present the essence of French culture to the Chinese.

"My first message (to the Chinese people) is a message of esteem, trust and friendship and these sentiments have linked our two peoples for centuries," said Chirac.

Thanks to the sentiments, the Year of China in France was a great success, Chirac said. He expressed the confidence that these feelings would make the Year of France in China another success.

The French president noted that his country highly values cultural diversity and pluralism in international politics.

As the world is more globalized and interdependence and interaction between countries increase, only dialogue between different cultures, consultations and emphasis on a civil society can ensure the stability of the world.

Noting that cultural exchanges between the two countries will improve political and cultural ties, Chirac said, adding they will also have an impact on economy and trade.

"Great changes have taken place in China in the past two decades and China's transforming economy has brought prosperity to its people," noted Chirac.

During the Year of France in China, the two countries will launch joint projects in science and technology, such as those sponsored by the Chinese-French Technology Institute of Tongji University and Pasteur Institute of Shanghai, said Chirac.

Chirac wished that French companies would take advantage of the Year of France to look for business partners in China and beef up economic co-operation.

Chirac will kick off four-day visit in Chengdu in Southwest China . He will visit Beijing tomorrow and Sunday and wrap up his trip Tuesday in Hong Kong after staying in Shanghai on Monday.

Chirac, who was elected president in 1995, visited China in 1997 and 2000.

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