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Chirac: 'You'll Live in a Changing and Complicated World'
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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," he said.


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 environment.


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 outstanding wisdom.


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, 2006)

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