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Chirac's Visit Boosts Sino-French Ties

President Chirac's state visit was rounded off with a grand ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic ties after both countries had issued a joint press communiqué on the tour's outcomes.

The two nations, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, reiterated their respect for multilateralism and the UN Charter. The UN's role in economic and social spheres was underscored, as was support for summits of the Group of Twenty nations, whilst the mutual establishment of new consulates is also being considered.

During talks with Chirac, Chinese President Hu Jintao said regular annual meetings between leaders of both countries should be arranged to assist a joint effort to further democratize international relations.

Chirac reaffirmed the one-China policy, saying he opposes any move to intensify the tension across the Taiwan Strait with moves toward to Taiwanese independence.

On January 27th 1964 a joint communiqué was issued announcing the forging of diplomatic ties, making France the first major Western country to do so with the People's Republic of China.

Hu's state visit to France in January this year is thought to have furthered the strategic partnership between the two nations and recent efforts have resulted in levels of cooperation in the economy, education, culture and science and technology that have been the highest in history.

According to Chinese figures the total volume of two-way trade in 2003 amounted to US$13.39 billion (60.9 percent more than the previous year). Leading French companies such as Alcatel, Alstom, Airbus and Carrefour have seen their business booming in China.

The 20 agreements signed during Chirac's tour concerned areas as diverse as environmental protection, transport, aviation, agriculture, telecommunications and finance.

French businesses clinched over 20 deals with Chinese partners during their president's visit. The contracts, worth billions of US dollars, include the sale of 26 Airbus aircrafts, train technology and equipment transfer.

French and Chinese scientists and researchers have been brought closer with more than 700 joint projects. Exchanges in education have also made headway with approximately 20,000 Chinese students studying in France and about 120 universities and more than 20 high schools in each country having set up twinships. The agreement signed by the two nations on mutual recognition of diplomas further boosted the exchanges.

Two Culture Years have been jointly launched: from October 2003 to July 2004 the French public were invited to enjoy more than 300 events celebrating the "Middle Kingdom", whilst Chinese people have their turn to appreciate and admire French culture from October 2004 to July 2005 with a series of concerts, exhibitions and performances.

(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2004)

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