January 26, 2024
BEIJING – At a high-end reception marking the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties in downtown Beijing on Thursday, both President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron delivered video speeches and voiced hopes on taking the relations to a greater height.
Xi said that looking ahead to the next 60 years, China and France will work together to create greater glories.
When asking both sides to unswervingly develop bilateral relations, Xi set a clear goal of “responding to the uncertainties of the world with the stability of China-France relations”.
Among the members of the European Union, France is China’s third-largest trading partner and third-largest source of actual investment. China is France’s top trading partner in Asia and seventh-largest in the world.
Over the past 60 years, the annual bilateral trade volume has soared more than 800-fold to reach $81.2 billion in 2022.
In terms of mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation, Xi said Beijing and Paris should deepen traditional cooperation and “actively tap the potential of cooperation in emerging areas” such as green industry and clean energy.
He emphasized the need to “keep making the cake bigger” and “use openness to pool the strength of cooperation and share development opportunities”.
Regarding cooperation on the international stage, Xi said the two sides should jointly advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and inclusive economic globalization that benefits all, and “make further China-France contributions to maintaining world peace and stability and addressing global challenges”.
He referred to two major events on the agenda this year as “opportunities” — the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism and the Paris Summer Olympic Games, voicing hopes on expanding cultural exchanges and fostering bonds between the two peoples.
In his video address, Macron said the Year of Culture and Tourism should be used as an opportunity for closer interaction between the two peoples, especially young people, in order to cement the foundations for the future of France-China relations.
The two countries today “have the responsibility to build on the ambitious goals established in 1964” and jointly build a partnership that “meets the needs of both peoples and contributes to world peace and stability”, he said.
Paris is ready to work hand in hand with Beijing to “tackle global challenges and contribute to the resolution of international crises”, he added.
When addressing the reception, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China and France “are both major countries with a sense of global responsibilities”, they both advocate multilateralism, and they should lead the steady long-term growth of China-EU ties.
Beijing will “offer more convenience” for foreign investors including those from France, and Paris is expected to shape a fair, just and predictable business environment for Chinese businesses, he added.
French Ambassador to China Bertrand Lortholary said Paris will work with Beijing to further realize the consensus reached by the two heads of state and carry forward the great momentum of bilateral ties.
In their video speeches, both presidents noted the fact that in 1964, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle pushed for the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Xi defined this as “a major event in the history of international relations”, saying that the two great statesmen “opened the gate toward China-West contacts and cooperation, bringing hope to a world in the midst of the Cold War”.
He praised China-France relations over the past 60 years as “always marching on the forefront of China’s relations with Western countries”, and he endorsed the “China-France spirit” of independence and self-reliance, mutual understanding, foresight and mutual benefit.
In face of the changes in the new era, China and France should honor their original aspiration for forging their relations, “actively face the future and dare to make a difference”, Xi said.