French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in an interview with Xinhua Friday, called for the strengthening of China-France and China-European Union (EU) ties in addition to commenting on international issues.
The France-China all-round strategic partnership, which is based on cooperation and mutual trust, is an extremely important foundation stone of the French foreign policy, Sarkozy said.
The partnership should cover cooperation in all fields such as economy, science, technology and culture, he added.
Sarkozy is to begin a state visit to China Sunday, his first one to the country after he was sworn in as president this May.
"China is the first Asian country that I would visit after I was elected as president," Sarkozy said, reiterating France's support to the one-China policy.
France is confident that China would develop soundly, and France thinks this is a chance both for China itself and the world, he added.
The French president said France and China have the common wishes for peace, prosperity and harmony.
"So, I would like to work together with Chinese President Hu Jintao. We would have many topics of mutual concern like the environment, economic and trade relations and how the two countries can make bigger contributions to the world's security," he said.
Sarkozy attached importance to the strengthening of China-France economic and trade ties, saying mutual benefit and cooperation should be the core of the ties.
"I hope the France-China partnership will continue in this direction to push forward its development. We should strengthen already implemented cooperation projects such as those in nuclear energy, aviation and railways," he said.
He said one important task now is to encourage enterprises in the two countries to work together.
First of all, big enterprises should cooperate, but medium and small enterprises with state-of-the-art technologies also should work together, he added.
Sarkozy said China-EU relations have developed rapidly and should aim to further develop the all-round strategic partnership.
Noting that the European Union has become China's largest trade partner, the French president urged both sides to further expand bilateral trade.
Both sides have launched negotiations on reaching a new deal aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation in various fields, Sarkozy said.
France, which is going to take the rotating EU presidency in 2008, aims to make 2008 a big year in both EU-China and EU-Asia relations.
Referring to international relations, Sarkozy said France and China shoulder the responsibility and obligation to surpass immediate interests and work for peace and security as both are permanent members of the UN Security Council.
"We should make concerted joint efforts in tackling crises," he said.
Facing the challenges of today's world, France shares with China an identical wish for peace, prosperity and harmony, he said.
Sarkozy appreciated China's active involvement in tackling some major international issues, calling China's participation in seeking the settlement of the issues of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Myanmar and Iran as a full reflection of China's position.
On the Iran nuclear issue, Sarkozy said his country is determined to work with China to implement the policy agreed by Germany and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- China, the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
If Iran decides to meet its obligations, the door remains open for Iran to solve the nuclear issue, he said, suggesting Tehran choose cooperation and peace in settling the issue, Sarkozy said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2007)