The Sino-French relations, which have been witnessing a remarkable development, are now at their best in history, said Chinese Ambassador to France Zhao Jinjun.
"During the past three and half years that I have worked as the Chinese ambassador to France, the Sino-French relations have been at the best stage in history, featuring remarkably excitement and opportunities," the ambassador told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.
As two nations wielding a significant influence on the world stage, China and France share much in common on major international affairs, with both countries upholding multilateralism against unilateralism and the establishment of a world characterized by cultural diversity and peaceful cooperation, the ambassador said.
This has laid a political foundation for the two countries to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership, he added.
The Sino-French ties are an exemplar of strategic, all-around, and mature partnership in the arena of international relations, boasting many "No. 1s" in the history of China's foreign relations, Zhao said.
France was the first Western power which established diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China.
It was the first Western country that has established comprehensive partnership with China and the first world power which opened strategic consultations with China.
France was also the first European country which refused to sign up to the proposal against China's human rights records and the first Western state in favor of lifting arms embargo against China.
Riding the waves of the strengthened ties between China and France, the two countries' heads of state and prime ministers exchanged visits within one year. The frequent high-level exchange of visits has further consolidated the bilateral relations, the ambassador said.
On the other front of the significant bilateral ties, a robust cultural exchange between the two countries has run through the development of the Sino-French relations for the past three and half years, the ambassador said.
From 2003 to 2005, the cultural exchange was consummated with the holdings of the Chinese Culture Year in France and the French Culture Year in China, two culture-promotion fairs held across the two countries respectively, the ambassador said.
The cultural exchange for two years in a row, which has dwarfed most other similar events in terms of its scale and scope, is the first of its kind in the history of the Sino-French relations, he said, adding that its influence has reached well beyond the two countries' geographical borders.
For example, within one year, some 370 Chinese cultural delegations visited France.
Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France, these activities have helped deepen the mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries, Zhao said.
In the educational area, the list can also go on and on, the ambassador said.
China and France ushered in a new era in higher education exchange between Chinese and foreign academies by setting up a joint school granting doctorate.
China and France each will dispatch about 400 young people in various fields to the other's country this year and next year for more cooperation.
As manifested by such accomplishments, it would be safe to say that the Sino-French relations are enjoying a wonderful time, the ambassador concluded.
(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2006）