Today's world is plagued by terrorism, cultural conflicts and
power politics, and that they would "live in a changing and
complicated world," French President Jacques Chirac yesterday told
students during a 25-minute speech delivered to 600 students at
China's prestigious Peking University.
"Facing terrorism, power politics, cultural conflicts and
growing nationalism, we need unification instead of confrontation,"
Chirac reminded Chinese youth of their responsibility for the
future of not only their own country but the whole world, stating
that those seated before him may well decide the country's future
and even change the world.
"I believe many in the audience today will become future leaders
in China," he said. "Your imagination and decisions will shape
China as well as the whole world."
Chirac said China would become a major power in the future,
possibly the strongest nation in the world, so what happens to
China would influence global politics, economy, culture and
He called for France and China to work closely towards a
peaceful world, especially when some break their commitments and
threaten world peace.
"Multilateralism should play a role in solving the North Korea
and Iran nuclear issues," he said.
Chirac said Europe and Asia might have similar interpretations
of international affairs, due their similarly long histories and
The President underlined that "because the world still hesitates
between stability and chaos, because we remember the Confucian
saying 'if two people work as one, their strength can break iron,'
France and China have fully involved themselves...to keep this
world so complex, so inter-dependant, that no power can force its
will upon it."
Besides political conflicts, Chirac reminded that the world is
also suffering from global warming, poverty and disease.
He said France had suggested the establishment of an environment
organization under the United Nations, and hoped China would
actively respond to the proposal. He also considered the
China-Africa Summit and France-Africa Summit as strong
opportunities to help Africa's poor.
Addressing the relationship between sports and politics, Chirac
expressed his wish that China could be successful in holding the
2008 Olympic Games and the 2010 World Expo.
Availing himself of the pulpit offered to him, Chirac called for
China to cooperate further with the international community on
health-related issues. "Health and access to medical care are
rights for all and I have no doubt China will soon follow through
on its support for the international association of medicine
purchases, UNITAID," said Chirac, pointing out that diseases knew
no boundaries. "We must also continuously reinforce international
cooperation. The modernization that the world has undergone,
supporting China in its fights against SARS and bird flu, has been
exemplary in this regard."
Chirac also sent a welcoming message to Chinese students who
want to study in France. He said that ten years ago only 5,000
Chinese students had studied in his country, but the number has now
reached 25,000 and will exceed 50,000 in the near future.
Students were impressed by the president's speech and good
manner. "His words, behavior and politeness showed us the
gracefulness of the French people," said Yang Suo, a junior
student. "But it's a pity that the speech is so short."
(China Daily and China.org.cn, October 27,