BEIJING — Deepening practical cooperation between China and France will further help transform and upgrade their bilateral ties, which will benefit not only the two major powers but the world as a whole.
Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Paris on June 29 for a four-day visit to France. It is the first official visit by a Chinese premier to the European country in nearly a decade and is seen as a major step to improve the pragmatic cooperation between Beijing and Paris.
The highlights of Li’s visit include the joint exploration of third-country markets and the promotion of Sino-French nuclear energy cooperation, innovation cooperation as well as cooperation in economy and trade, agriculture, finance and aerospace.
China and France enjoy time-honored friendship. France was the first major Western country to establish ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1964. It was also the first foreign country to sign a nuclear energy cooperation accord with China in 1982.
Last year, the bilateral ties were lifted to a close and lasting comprehensive strategic partnership when President Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to France on the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.
Under the new situation, China and France need to speed up the transformation and upgrading of their practical cooperation as both countries are faced with tasks of deepening reforms, developing the economy and improving people’s well-being.
Both economies are complementary. China’s comparative advantages in production capacity and equipment manufacturing can be combined with France’s advanced technology to enable both sides to jointly explore third-party markets.
Such cooperation will benefit all parties: Developing countries can achieve development at lower costs and fast speed; China, which is in the midst of industrialization, can realize its industrial upgrading, while France, a developed country in the process of post-industrialization, can also expand overseas markets.
Moreover, Sino-French cooperation is also conducive to the world economic recovery and global inclusive development at large. With the implementation of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, more opportunities will emerge in such cooperation.
On people-to-people exchanges, China and France launched a High-level Mechanism for Dialogue on People-to-People Exchanges last year and prioritized youth exchanges. So far, the mechanism has become the third pillar of bilateral ties after the strategic and financial dialogue and cooperation mechanisms.
As former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said, the France-China ties are “very comprehensive” and “their close cooperation regarding world affairs is effective and will continue to intensify.”