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Chirac Stresses Importance of Cultural Exchanges With China

French President Jacques Chirac said in Paris Wednesday that cultural exchanges between France and China are of major importance to the all-round development of bilateral relations.

Chirac told visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Li Lanqing that the French people need to know China's traditional culture as well as contemporary culture. More Chinese contemporary literary figures should be introduced to the French people, he said.

The president expressed satisfaction that France and China would establish cultural centers in each other's country, saying that such a move would further promote their cultural exchanges and enhance the mutual understanding of the two peoples.

Chirac positively appraised the French-Chinese friendly cooperation in various fields, noting that the two countries share broad common ground in their perception of the international pattern and the trends in world development.

Li, who was here on an eight-day official visit, said that Sino- French cooperation has made major achievements in various fields. The comprehensive partnership has witnessed a satisfactory momentum in recent years, with the personal care of Chirac and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

The two countries share common interests and complementarity in politics, economy, science and technology, and culture. Sino-French relations in these fields face broad vistas because there are great potentials, Li added.

The Chinese vice-premier said that cultural exchanges have always served as an important bridge and link in the friendly relations between China and France, and French cultural celebrities such as Victor Hugo, Honore Balzac, Alexander Dumas and Jacques Rousseau are well known among the Chinese people.

Li expressed China's willingness to strengthen cultural exchanges and cooperation with France, noting that the upcoming establishment of cultural centers in each other's country would mark a new phase in such exchanges.

Both Chirac and Li stressed the importance of cultural diversity and the need to protect each country's cultural heritage.

Chinese Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng, Ambassador Wu Jianmin and Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Deguang were present at the talks.

(Xinhua 04/19/2001)

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