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Sculpture provides food for thought

Updated: Jan 30,2015 9:53 PM

Auguste Rodin’s masterpiece The Thinker is on display — chin still resting on fist — at the National Museum of China alongside traditional Chinese art. He might be pondering what China and France have in common, and how to draw the two nations more closely together.

Two guests who visited the museum on Jan 30 might provide some answers.

Premier Li Keqiang accompanied visiting French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to the display of 140 works of the master sculptor as part of the yearlong celebration marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, before inviting Valls to a private dinner.

“Fifty years ago, the establishment of diplomatic ties with France opened the door of China’s exchanges with Western countries. Now, the Sino-France friendship has become a model of nation-to-nation relations,” Li said after the tour.

“Today’s event will only be a moment in history, but it marks the start of a new chapter in the Sino-France friendship,” he said, calling for more and deeper cooperation in the future.

Valls, who will go to Shanghai on Jan 31 as part of his first visit to China as prime minister, said it was touching to see the French masterpieces in Beijing, thousands of miles from home. The exhibit highlights the cultural engagement of the two countries, he said.