French Air Force's famous aerobatics team, "Patrouille de France" displayed its aerial charm in Beijing Monday amid French President Jacques Chirac's state visit to China.
The PAF, with 10 high-performance Alpha jets, presented Chinese viewers in the afternoon with the latest superb aerobatics maneuvers and formations.
It is PAF's first road show in China. The troupe will also visit Wuhan City, capital of Hubei Province, Zhuhai, a coastal city of south China's Guangdong Province, and Hong Kong.
"This is a special gift brought by President Chirac to the Chinese people," Thierry Mace, air attache of the French Embassy in Beijing, told Xinhua.
The French president's state visit coincides with the Year of France in China, which is scheduled to last from October 2004 to July 2005. Chirac attended some activities of the event.
During the 10-month-long French Culture Year, more than 200 cultural activities are expected to come to China, unfolding unique French culture.
The activities, including film festivals, photo shows and concerts, would help the Chinese better acquaint themselves with France and its culture and discover "a real France," said Chirac in an interview with Xinhua prior to his China tour.
Chirac also hoped the French Culture Year will blossom in the spirit of innovation, creation and festivity and present the essence of French culture to the Chinese.
As a key program of the Year of France in China, the aerobatics show is sure to bring unique French culture and spirit to China, said Luo Yuan with the Military Academy of Sciences of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).
"Military culture exchanges play an important role in Sino-France cultural exchanges. That's why Chirac brought the PAF to China and lists the show as a key event in the Year of France," Luo said.
The aerobatics show was actually "a symphony in the blue sky played together by Chinese and French armies," he said. "It fully epitomizes Sino-French military exchanges and cooperation, which have attained a new high."
According to Fan Gaoyue, also with the Chinese PLA Military Academy of Sciences, the aerobatics troupe is regarded as "honor guard in the air" to a nation and is a vital platform to display national and military power.
"Chirac's China tour in accompany of PAF indicates France's readiness to develop an even deeper and more extensive relationship with China," he acknowledged. "France expects to carry out better cooperation with China in advancing the multi-polarization process of the world and keeping international security and stability."
Fan also cited aerobatics show as a golden opportunity for France to showcase its military power and sci-tech power. It may help leading French products to enter China's market, he added.
The aerobatics show in Beijing, previously scheduled to be staged on October 7, was postponed until Monday afternoon because of low visibility and heavy fog in the past two days.
(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2004)